Phnom Penh – The U.S. Defence Department has asked Cambodia to explain why it suddenly turned down an offer to repair a naval base, saying the decision had raised speculation of possible plans for hosting China’s military.
A letter to the Cambodian defence minister, seen by Reuters, reflects concern in Washington about the Chinese military presence in Southeast Asia, where China is increasingly assertive over its contested claims in the South China Sea.
The letter from Joseph Felter, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia, asked for more information on the decision to decline help to repair a training facility and boat depot at Ream Naval Base.
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