Unfinished Chinese casino resort a Silk Road failure: Reuters

Around five hours drive away from Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh lies a stalled integrated resort development – a hidden failure of China’s Belt and Road initiative, writes Reuters in a report.

The Dara Sakor Seashore Resort was touted by its Chinese developer as a city-sized resort for “extravagant feasting and revelry”.

Work on the project began in 2008 after Cambodia leased 45,000 hectares of a national park to China’s Tianjin Union Development Group (UDG) for a period of 99 years.

It was adopted as a Belt and Road project around 2017, and was described then as “the biggest project of the Belt and Road initiative so far”.

However, Reuters says the project looks to have stalled – with mostly empty hotel buildings, deserted beach bars and the unfinished shell of a casino lying mostly idle.

A visit to the resort’s social media feeds shows images of a small hotel and a number of golf courses.

Reuters said there is little information about the project and its progress, as well as the amount of money spent on it. The lack of transparency seems to run in contrast to China’s Silk Road initiative, which call for projects to be open, transparent and environmentally friendly.

Both UDG and Cambodia’s environment ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment, said Reuters.