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A new military vehicle is taken through its paces during a joint training exercise between Cambodia and China in Kompong Speu province yesterday.
A new military vehicle is taken through its paces during a joint training exercise between Cambodia and China in Kompong Speu province yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Military exercise launched

The opening ceremony of a 16-day joint military training exercise between Cambodian and Chinese troops was held yesterday at the Thlok Tasek Military Institute in Kampong Speu’s Phnom Sruoch district, marking the start of what one official called “the first military joint training organised by the two militaries”.

Presided over by Pol Saroeun, commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF); Xiong Bo, Chinese ambassador to Cambodia; and Huang Ming, army commander of the 41st battalion of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the opening ceremony of Golden Dragon 2016 saw leaders and soldiers from both countries expressing their commitment to forge closer bilateral ties, and extolling the already close relationship between the two countries.

“China and Cambodia have been good friends for a long time, thanks to the good relations established by the older generations of leaders,” said Bo in an opening speech. “Troops from both countries will work closely together in the next nine to 10 days . . . as we enter a new phase of rapidly developing relations between both parties.”

Meanwhile, Saroeun said in his speech that he hoped for the exercise – which will involve 280 Cambodian soldiers and 100 Chinese soldiers – to enhance the capabilities of the Kingdom’s national military forces.

“I hope Golden Dragon 2016 will benefit the RCAF in terms of technology and experience to develop its own [military] capabilities so that it will become more powerful,” he said. Centred on humanitarian aid and disaster relief, the military training will cover “both command post training and operational activities”.

“The command training – involving 12 Chinese and 24 Cambodians – will include the set-up of a command centre to enable the systematic analysis and judgment of situations to develop action plans,” said Li Yi Hui, a representative of the joint training command.

“An additional 85 Chinese and 256 Cambodian active military personnel will be involved in road repair, mine and UXO clearance, trestle suspension bridge and mechanised bridge construction, dam building and flood relief, and resettlement of disaster-hit victims.”

According to Ming, the exercise is an opportunity for both militaries to “defend world peace and ensure regional stability”. “It is the first military joint training organised by the two militaries,” he said.

“Natural disasters are the common enemy of mankind, and people of the Asia-Pacific region suffer from frequent natural disasters.” “This makes it necessary for us to resist and fight [the disasters] together,” he added.

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