Prime Minister Hun Manet has expressed his endorsement for the ongoing strengthening and expansion of Cambodia-China military cooperation in various domains, including joint training exercises, human resources development, unit-to-unit collaboration and mine clearance efforts within Cambodia.

Manet’s imprimatur came during his meeting with General Li Qiaoming, commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) ground force, on November 8 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. This meeting marked Li’s official visit to Cambodia.

In their discussions, Manet highlighted the significant progress in the relationship between the two militaries. Notably, he referred to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in March 2022, a milestone that occurred during his tenure as the Royal Cambodian Army commander.

“I have expressed my support for the ongoing efforts to strengthen and broaden the military ties between our two nations. Our primary areas of focus include collaboration in combined training drills, the advancement of human resources, inter-unit linkages and demining initiatives,” said Manet in a social media post following the meeting.

According to the post, Li underscored the enduring friendship between Cambodia and China. He emphasised that this relationship has a deep historical foundation, nurtured by the leaders of both nations over time. This growth is evident through numerous achievements, including collaboration in defence, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Fish and Rice Corridor.

“I have confidence that under Hun Manet’s leadership, bilateral relations between the two nations will flourish. Cambodia’s growth and prosperity will continue,” the premier’s post quoted Li as saying.

In March 2022, then-army commander Manet and Liu Zhenli, former commander of the PLA ground force, inked an MoU outlining military cooperation between the two nations. The primary objective of the MoU was to enhance enduring and mutually beneficial cooperation and relations between their respective armed forces, founded on principles of equality.

This document serves as the foundation for fostering expanded collaboration in critical sectors. We see this occasion as marking the beginning of a fresh chapter in the connection between the two militaries, according to the information department at the Ministry of National Defence.