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More military muscle

THE government has purchased nearly 100 tanks and armoured personnel carriers from an Eastern European country, a Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said yesterday.

Koy Kuong said yesterday that the vehicles were expected to arrive at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port some time next week, and that additional vehicles would arrive at a later date.

“As far as I know, the numbers will be higher than that, and will arrive soon,” he said, referring to the figure of 94 vehicles cited in local media reports yesterday.

He declined to provide further details about the purchases, or to disclose the name of the country that provided the vehicles. “I think this is a normal procedure for a country to buy such weaponry to protect its territory from any intentional encroachment from foreign countries,” he said.

Chhum Socheat, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, also remained tight-lipped when asked about the

“I cannot comment,” he said. “Just wait and see next week, whether this is true or not.”

He said that approximately 800 military officials conducted tank and armoured personnel vehicle exercises last month to strengthen the country’s military capacity and learn how to use heavy artillery weapons.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Tea Banh and a delegation of other senior officials left for China to examine factories specialising in weapons production, and to learn about modern war technologies, Chhum Socheat said. The visit is set to last for about one week.

“The trip is to extend military ties,” he said. “It is not for purchasing weapons, or to sign any contracts with China.”



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