US Defense Secretary to visit Cambodia

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Cambodia next Tuesday amid concerns in Washington over Beijing's growing influence in the Southeast Asian country.

Cambodia's foreign ministry says it is arranging for Austin to meet with senior Cambodian government officials at the request of the United States.

Earlier, Austin will meet his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun, at a major security conference in Singapore.

Cambodia and China are currently conducting their annual military exercises, with more than 2,000 troops taking part from both sides.

Meanwhile, two Chinese warships have been docked since last December at Cambodia's Ream Naval Base near the South China Sea where Beijing and several Southeast Asian nations are locked in territorial disputes.

The US has been increasingly concerned that the base could be used for military purposes as the two countries strengthen their military cooperation.