China builds airport in Cambodia, raising fears about its ambitions
DARA SAKOR, CAMBODIA — China's construction of an airstrip in Cambodia is raising alarms about its military ambitions, according to the New York Times.
Bloomberg reports that Beijing now controls 20 percent of Cambodia's coastline via the lease of Dara Sakor, where a contractor is building an airport, a deep water port, medical facilities and a resort.
According to the New York Times, the Chinese claim the Dara Sakor airport — which will feature the longest runway in Cambodia — is a civilian facility.
However, the newspaper reports that the construction's scale and its tight turning bays which accommodate fighter jets point to a military purpose.
China-based Union Development Group holds the 99 year lease to the Dara Sakor investment zone.
Citing political scientist Sophal Ear at Occidental College, the New York Times reports that China's construction of the airport is to project power in the region.
According to the New York Times, the construction in Cambodia is likely a move to further Beijing's military strategy known as the "string of pearls."
This strategy involves establishing infrastructure and military bases that stretch from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean and beyond.