Japanese destroyers call at Cambodian port

Japanese destroyers call at Cambodian port

Vessels docked not far from naval base being upgraded with Chinese funds

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Suzunami (front) and the training vessel Shimakaze make a port call in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Thursday. (Kyodo Photo)
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Suzunami (front) and the training vessel Shimakaze make a port call in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Thursday. (Kyodo Photo)

Two Japanese destroyers have called at Sihanoukville port in Cambodia, located near a naval base where construction work is under way with financial aid from China.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyers Suzunami and Shimakaze, with a combined crew of around 430, were greeted on Thursday by Gen Ros Veasna, deputy commander of the Cambodian navy. The vessels will stay at the port until Saturday.

The port call came as Japan seeks to maintain a “free and open Indo-Pacific” amid growing maritime assertiveness from China. The two ships were docked about 15 kilometres from the Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, near the South China Sea.

In August last year, Cambodia and Japan agreed to strengthen security cooperation, with Tokyo saying it aims to send MSDF vessels to the Ream Naval Base regularly.

The base, currently undergoing upgrades with financial support from China, is expected to be completed later this year.

Cambodia maintains friendly ties with China and has consistently denied any plans to host the Chinese navy at the Ream base, citing a constitutional ban on foreign military bases in the country.

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