The Dara Sakor Airport in Koh Kong, Cambodia is a project under China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The airport contains a 3,300-meter-long runway near the Cambodian coast. Since 2019, Pentagon planners and others in the strategic commentary space have expressed concerns that Dara Sakor could serve as a dual-use Chinese military airfield (see notes). As of May 2023, GEOINT shows no military infrastructure is present. Open evidence suggests Dara Sakor may be another overly grand BRI project.
Since 2019, there have been numerous open defense and international affairs-focused reports (official and unofficial) detailing the potential for dual-use capability at the airfield by serving as a potential staging ground for Chinese military aircraft. Ream Naval Base is approximately 50 miles away (straight flight path) and the placement of an airport in deep coastal jungle seems out of the ordinary, especially when Chinese money is backing both port and airfield. However, there is little GEOINT evidence of dual-use or a military look-and-feel to the airport outside of a runway sufficient for emergency use by military aircraft at this time. Rather, the evidence as it currently stands, points to another overly grand and economically questionable BRI investment. This report will add to the previous corpus of open reporting on the topic by providing the most up-to-date GEOINT reporting on activity and developments through May 2023.