Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia, South Korea boost defence co-op

Cambodia, South Korea boost defence co-op

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Lieutenant General Hun Manet, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF). HUN MANET VIA FACEBOOK

Cambodia, South Korea boost defence co-op

Local political observers see the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the Cambodian and South Korean armed forces as strengthening and enhancing regional security cooperation and mutual protection, against a backdrop of geopolitical competition between superpowers.

Lieutenant General Hun Manet – Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and commander of the Royal Cambodian Army – and Park Jeong-hwan, Chief of Staff of the South Korean Army, signed the MoU last week.

It is hoped that the agreement will promote close and lasting ties between the two sides based on mutual trust in the cause of peace and humanity.

Thong Mengdavid, a security expert and currently a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, sees the signing as a positive sign for strengthening and expanding the military capabilities of the two countries, both bilaterally and in regional military cooperation.

“South Korea has always been a friend and important development partner of Cambodia,” he said.

“Building its military capacity through modernisation, the establishment of military industry, the construction of military infrastructure and increased cooperation with other foreign partners is one of the Kingdom’s main defence strategies,” he added.

He emphasised the changing role of Cambodia in the field of international security, saying it had become a steadfast source of UN peacekeeping troops, having sent well-trained troops to participate in maintaining regional and global security.

During the signing ceremony, the two army commanders recalled the establishment of diplomatic ties between Cambodia and South Korea in 1970. They also applauded the development of friendly relations and cooperation in all fields between the two nations, especially in the last 25 years since the re-establishment of diplomacy in 1997 under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia and an expert on geopolitics, said the signing will help strengthen regional security, as South Korea is nearer to US Indo-Pacific policy than to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) framework.

“The signing of the MoU will help support South Korea and Cambodia in training human resources and protecting each other through military exercises and humanitarian frameworks,” he added.

He believed that the relationship between the two nations is evolving closer, and has the potential to be a full-fledged relationship in the future. This, he said, is not just true in the sense of a bilateral framework but also within multilateral and regional frameworks. South Korea is also an ASEAN dialogue partner, which offers additional economic, political and trade benefits, he added.

Peou lauded the progress of Cambodia’s diplomatic security policies, which are striving to expand both bilaterally, regionally and globally.

The defence ministries of Cambodia and South Korea also signed a defence MoU in 2018, which formed the base for closer ties, including exchange visits, the training of human resources and the provision of military equipment.


  • Wing Bank opens new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004

    Wing Bank celebrates first anniversary as commercial bank with launch of brand-new branch. One year since officially launching with a commercial banking licence, Wing Bank on March 14 launched a new branch in front of Orkide The Royal along Street 2004. The launch was presided over by

  • Girl from Stung Meanchey dump now college grad living in Australia

    After finishing her foundational studies at Trinity College and earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Melbourne in 2022, Ron Sophy, a girl who once lived at the Stung Meanchey garbage dump and scavenged for things to sell, is now working at a private

  • Ministry using ChatGPT AI to ‘ease workload’; Khmer version planned

    The Digital Government Committee is planning to make a Khmer language version of popular artificial intelligence (AI) technology ChatGPT available to the public in the near future, following extensive testing. On March 9, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications revealed that it has been using the

  • Wat Phnom hornbills attract tourists, locals

    Thanks to the arrival of a friendly flock of great hornbills, Hour Rithy, a former aviculturist – or raiser of birds – in Kratie province turned Phnom Penh tuk tuk driver, has seen a partial return to his former profession. He has become something of a guide

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to