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China-led upgrade of Cambodian base advances as dredgers appear

CSIS says 'significant upgrade' to port will allow bigger vessels to access

A Jan. 16 satellite image from commercial provider Maxar shows two clamshell dredgers just off the coast of Cambodia's Ream naval base accompanied by barges for collecting dredged sand. (Photo courtesy of Center for Strategic and International Studies)

PHNOM PENH -- Dredging work appears set to start in the waters surrounding Cambodia's Ream naval base, where a Chinese-led expansion has become a growing source of geopolitical tension.

Work to deepen the bay will mark a milestone in upgrades to the site, where the shallow waters can currently only accommodate small patrol vessels.

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