On January 9, Chinese warships arrived in Cambodia for a scheduled visit. While details still remain unclear, the defense engagement, the first publicized one of its kind between the two sides in 2019, has once again put the spotlight on the military ties between them amid growing hype about Beijing’s inroads in Cambodia.
As I have noted previously in these pages, the idea of a deepening Chinese military presence in Cambodia is far from new. China has long been a key defense partner for Hun Sen’s Cambodia, including its top provider of military equipment, and both sides have been stepping up their defense ties in recent years in areas such as new exercises and new Chinese investments supporting military infrastructure.
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