Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Government: Military cooperation with the US remains strong

Government: Military cooperation with the US remains strong

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Soldiers stand at attention in front of tanks mounted with Cambodian flags during the opening ceremonies of this year’s Golden Dragon military exercises with China on Saturday. Heng Chivoan

Government: Military cooperation with the US remains strong

Cambodia still has military cooperation with the US, despite the former “temporarily postponing” the annual Angkor Sentinel joint exercises last year, Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat said.

He told The Post on Thursday that military ties with the US remain strong.

“The Ministry of National Defence retains bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the US. But because some required many members of the forces, we were unable to continue with the exercises,” Socheat said.

The ministry, he said, has no intention to suspend military cooperation with the US indefinitely.

“We had a meeting in the past and decided we would only postpone [military drills] for some time because we were busy with the election. We needed to mobilise our forces for some tasks,” he said.

Socheat stressed that Cambodia still has a wide range of areas where it cooperates with the US, apart from joint exercises.

“We still have some bilateral cooperation at present. While some are postponed, others are still ongoing. Nothing has changed,” he said.

Outgoing US Ambassador to Cambodia William A Heidt on Monday met with the National Defence Ministry Secretary of State, General Neang Phat.

The former raised concerns over a claim that there was a Chinese naval base under construction in Koh Kong province during the meeting. He called on the government to address the issue.

Socheat argued that the claim is intended to create suspicion between the two countries.

“There is nothing to inspect. If we trust each other, they wouldn’t need to inspect the site as it can be viewed from satellites,” he said.

On November 19, Prime Minister Hun Sen said he would explain to US Vice President Mike Pence that it was not necessary for Cambodia to violate its constitution as the Kingdom was not at war, and in any case had “enough forces to protect its independence”, and that he rejected “any ideology of competition” that could “split Cambodia”.

In March, Cambodia also “postponed indefinitely” a US Navy Mobile Construction Battalion humanitarian programme in which the “Seabees” work with their Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) counterparts on community service projects across the Kingdom.

According to Fresh News, the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces (RCAF) is currently preparing for next year’s edition of Golden Dragon exercises which will be held in Kampot province in March.

RCAF’s chief of staff General Eth Sarath on Wednesday led a group of soldiers to prepare the ground for the exercise.

Socheat said more pertaining to the exercise would be discussed on Friday at a meeting in his ministry.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese ‘prank’ threat video is no joke for Cambodia

    ‘Preah Sihanouk province, in the next three years, whether safe or chaotic, will be under my control,” declared a Chinese man in a white T-shirt, as another 19 men stood behind him shirtless, in a video that went viral on social media last month. After the

  • Woman detained for murder of hairdresser over unpaid $1K debt

    A woman has been held in connection with the murder of a 40-year-old widow. The victim’s daughter claims the motive was the suspect’s unpaid four million riel ($1,000) debt to her mother. The 17-year-old girl, Pich Sievmey, said her mother, Koem Yaneang, a hairdresser

  • ABA reports $71.8M net profit

    ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million last year, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. A rise in the bank’s loan portfolio and the expansion of stated

  • Cambodia, Singapore to ‘move on’ from Lee remarks storm

    Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam have agreed to move on from the controversy caused by remarks from Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and follow the path of cooperation, dialogue and friendship. The foreign ministers of the three countries had separate telephone conversations on Friday