UPSC PRELIMS 2020 : China secret agreement

China secret agreement

Topic:Cambodia – China secret agreement

Topic in Syllabus: International Affairs



China secret agreement

China and Cambodia have reportedly signed a secret pact.

  • The pact allows Beijing to use naval base on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand in the province of Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
  • The draft of the agreement seen by U.S. officials would allow China to use the Ream naval base for 30 years.
  • Where it would be able to post-military personnel, store weapons, and berth warships.



  • It gives the Chinese military exclusive rights to use part of a Ream naval base of Cambodia, in the Gulf of Thailand.
  • This would include posting military personnel, storing weapons and berthing warships.


Gulf of Thailand 

  • The Gulf of Thailand also known as the Gulf of Siam, is a shallow inlet in the western part of the South China Sea.
  • It is bordered by Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • The northern tip of the Gulf of Thailand is referred to as the Bay of Bangkok.
  • The Gulf of Thailand is becoming popular for whale watching and known for its coral reefs.


Thai Canal :

  • The Thai Canal also known as Kra Canal or Kra Isthmus Canal is a proposed canal that would connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea.
  • China could fund the proposed ‘Kra Canal’ project.
  • It is envisaged that the canal would improve transportation in the region.


Chinese advantage

  • Basing rights would extend China’s strategic military footprint into Southeast Asia.
  • It helps bolster its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.
  • This would be china’s second overseas naval foothold, after a base in Djibouti opened in 2017.


Ream Naval Base

  • Naval Base is a facility operated by the Royal Cambodian Navy on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand.
  • Since 2010 the base has been the site of annual joint Cambodian-United States training and naval exercises under the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) program.


Sample Question:

Match the following:

Gulfs                            Location
i) Gulf of Ob              a) East of China
ii) Gulf of Chihli          b) East Vietnam
iii) Gulf of Tonkin       c) Between Yamal and Gyda peninsula
iv) Gulf of Thailand    d) South of Thailand

Which of the above are correct?

a). i- c, ii- a, iii-b, iv-d

b). i-d, ii-b, iii-c, iv-a

c). i-a, ii-b, iii-c, iv-d

d). i-b, ii-c, iii-d, iv-a


Answer: a