Phnom Penh, Cambodia-Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Cambodia, where he is expected to meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen and other officials to discuss COVID-19 and other regional issues.
The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Wang Yi’s meetings on Sunday and Monday will also discuss trade and security issues.
After ending his visit to neighboring Vietnam on Saturday, Wang said that China plans to donate 3 million doses of vaccine to the country, which is under lockdown to curb the surge of COVID-19.
China is Cambodia’s largest investor and closest political partner. Beijing’s support allows Cambodia to ignore Western concerns about its poor record of human rights and political rights. Cambodia also generally supports Beijing’s geopolitical stance on issues such as territorial claims in the South China Sea.
In recent months, the United States has expressed concern about their relationship and urged Cambodia’s leaders to maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy, which would be in the best interests of its people.
Part of the concerns centered on China’s construction of new facilities at the Yunyang naval base in Cambodia and the potential for its military to have the right to station there in the future.
Ream faces the Gulf of Thailand adjacent to the South China Sea. Owning base rights in Cambodia will greatly expand Beijing’s strategic military position.