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China’s Growing Control of Cambodia: 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know

1. China’s secret naval deal with Cambodia

At the end of July, Cambodia and China reportedly signed a secret deal that would grant China exclusive access to Cambodia’s naval port for 30 years. The agreement comes amid tensions and suspicions that China has lobbied to build a dual-use naval base in Cambodia, Beijing’s closest ally in Southeast Asia. Cambodia has denied the reports with the Prime Minister saying: “This is the worst-ever made-up news against Cambodia,” adding that it clearly went against the constitution of Cambodia. If the reports are true, such developments would have huge implications on the region, as Thailand is already worried about the increased Chinese military presence in its regional waters.

2. Why is Cambodia following China’s commands?

Since the early 1990s, Western countries including the US have focused heavily on the goal of fostering Western-style democracy, a project that has done little but push long-ruling Hun Sen down the well-trodden pariah’s path to Beijing. It appears that the government in Cambodia knows it receives constant criticism on human rights from Western nations and has hence built up a relationship and even dependence on China, to allow itself the ability to continue ruling its way.

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3. Alarms of military build-up

4. Will China invade Cambodia?

5. Cambodia pushes the US away

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