Trump must cut China’s ten­ta­cles

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump needs to re-ex­am­ine Pres­i­dent Obama’s crum­bling pipe-dream pol­icy of us­ing Viet­nam to con­tain China. While our South­east-Asia pol­icy has my­opi­cally fo­cused on China’s grow­ing oc­cu­pa­tion of and base con­struc­tion on the South China Sea Is­lands, China has made a Hail Mary pass and out­flanked Viet­nam by build­ing a new deep-wa­ter port in Cam­bo­dia. In re­cent years China has drawn Cam­bo­dia into a close mil­i­tary and diplo­matic re­la­tion­ship that some strate­gists see as part of its sub­ver­sive scheme to con­trol one of the world’s busiest trans­porta­tion cor­ri­dors.

A Chi­nese com­pany, work­ing with the diplo­matic sup­port of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army, is close to com­plet­ing con­struc­tion of this deep-wa­ter port on a 90-kilo­me­ter stretch of Cam­bo­dia’s coast­line, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s ex­ec­u­tives and doc­u­ments. The port, which is deep enough to han­dle cruise ships, bulk carriers or naval ves­sels of up to 10,000 tons in dis­place­ment, is lo­cated on the Gulf of Thai­land just a few hun­dred kilo­me­ters from dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries in the South China Sea.

China now con­trols more than 20 per­cent of Cam­bo­dia’s to­tal coast­line and an area larger than the Nether­lands: 4.6 mil­lion hectares, all un­der 99-year lease agree­ments that cost just a few dol­lars per hectare.

China is Cam­bo­dia’s lead­ing in­vestor, with $9.6 bil­lion in the decade to 2013 and another $13 bil­lion in the pipe­line.

Ac­cord­ing to the Phnom Penh Post, Cam­bo­dian Prime Min­is­ter Hun Sen, one of the long­est-serv­ing dic­ta­tors in the world, re­cently laid out the red car­pet for Chi­nese in­vestors. Hun Sen prefers China’s in­vest­ments be­cause those bribes are much sweeter than what oth­ers might of­fer.

MICHAEL BENGE Falls Church

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