China has visibly made great progress in completing a naval base in Cambodia and is close to finishing off a pier that may be able to berth an aircraft carrier, per satellite imagery.
Images captured by BlackSky, a US-based commercial imagery firm that has been closely tracking the construction at the Ream Naval Base, share an almost complete pier that is quite surprisingly similar in both design and size to a pier that China’s military uses at its overseas base located in Djibouti. The Pentagon firmly believes that China is building its facility in Cambodia to enhance its ability to project the country’s naval power. Cambodia and China have denied that the People’s Liberation Army will have access to the base.
China is expected to get a strategic edge from the Cambodian naval base constructed near the Gulf of Thailand. A former US intelligence officer mentioned an ongoing debate in the US government regarding whether China will do the right thing for such a naval base.
Why is it better than the naval base developed in Hainan Island or the South China Sea? China has long been known for its several military bases built over the last decade for capturing the South China Sea. Specialists say that having a naval base in another nation can further complicate the US military position in case of a conflict.
The former US intelligence official said that if China and America move toward war, America can destroy naval bases in the South China Sea. However, for this naval base, they dropped bombs on Cambodia. Dennis Wilder, a former CIA specialist on the Chinese military, explained that if tensions suddenly flare up in the South China Sea and emerge as a military conflict, then the importance of the strategic Riam Naval Base is expected to be paramount.
This will bolster China’s naval power up to the Malacca Strait, which is the life of China. Via this channel, China makes its worldwide exports on a large scale. In case of any dispute, India and America can surround the dragon. India’s Andaman base is also close to the Malacca Strait.
Source : Marine Insight