China Makes Expansion To Overseas Naval Base

( – China appears to be building a dry dock large enough to accommodate aircraft carriers at the Ream Naval Base along the South China Sea in Cambodia, Naval News reported.

According to maritime security analyst H.I. Sutton, satellite imagery of Ream shows a large dry dock under construction at the base Cambodia is building with Chinese aid. Sutton wrote at Naval News that while the base is ostensibly being constructed for the Royal Cambodian Navy, it is more likely to be a base for the Chinese Navy.

The first signs of construction appeared in 2022 and work has moved quickly enough that recent satellite imagery makes it clear that the structure is a dry dock.

While Phnom Penh has denied that the base is being constructed for the Chinese Navy, Sutton writes that there is “little doubt” that it is intended to be an overseas base for the People’s Liberation Army.

According to Sutton, the construction work seen in satellite imagery includes “tell-tale signs” that it is Chinese.

The Ream base is one of several in the Indian Ocean, Africa, and the Middle East that are being constructed with Chinese aid.

In 2021, China was accused of constructing a military facility at a port in the United Arab Emirates. The work at the facility subsequently stopped. However, according to Sutton, there are unconfirmed reports that the work may have resumed this year.

There have also been reports that China plans to build a naval base in West Africa in Equatorial Guinea which would extend China’s operations into the Atlantic.

Recently, there were reports that China also planned another base in Oman, however, it is unclear if that base would be a naval port.

China also has a base in Djibouti along the Horn of Africa. According to Sutton, the base in Ream appears to be comparable in size to the one in Djibouti.

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