June 8, 2022, 07.34 PM

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The revamp will be finished in two years, another Cambodian official said.

Wang said it would deepen the iron-clad friendship between the two countries and help modernize the Cambodian navy.

The base has been a sore spot in US-Cambodia relations for years, with Washington suspecting it is being converted for use by China as Beijing seeks to buttress its international influence with a network of military outposts.

US embassy spokeswoman Stephanie Arzate said the United States and other countries in the region had "expressed concern about the lack of transparency on the intent, nature, and scope of this project," as well as China's role in its construction.

"An exclusive PRC military presence at Ream could threaten Cambodia's autonomy and undermine regional security," Arzate told AFP.

Concerns about the base go back as far as 2019, when the Wall Street Journal reported on a secret draft deal allowing Beijing to dock warships there.

Cambodia has since dismantled facilities at the base that were built partly with American money and played host to US military exercises.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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