Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US ambassador Patrick Murphy (left) shakes hands with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen on Tuesday. US EMBASSY IN PHNOM PENH

US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

The US on Tuesday pledged to help train military officers, particularly Cambodia’s blue helmet troops deployed for UN’s peacekeeping operations.

The pledge was made during a meeting between US ambassador Patrick Murphy and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen. Further strengthening of the two nations’ relations was also discussed.

In a Facebook post, Pisen said: “[Cambodia] continues to collaborate with the US by exchanging visits and finding the remains of US soldiers who had gone missing in Cambodia.”

The post said Murphy had raised the alleged presence of a secret Chinese naval base on Cambodian soil but added that the US believes this to be a smear campaign meant to destabilise relations between the two countries.

Murphy said: “[We] discussed the necessary steps for expanding security collaboration, including the promotion of human rights and democracy and the protection of Cambodia’s sovereignty from the presence of a foreign military base.”

Regarding this issue, Pisen reiterated that the Kingdom’s Constitution did not authorise any foreign military base in its territory, nor does it allow the presence of its military abroad, except within the framework of a UN request.

On July 21, the Wall Street Journal published a report alleging a secret agreement between China and Cambodia for the installation of a Chinese naval base in the province of Preah Sihanouk.

The Cambodian government had denied the allegations several times, even allowing national and international journalists to visit the suspected site.

The post also announced that both sides had discussed a bilateral collaboration that would mutually benefit the parties. The collaboration is said to focus on the search for the remains of missing US soldiers in Cambodia, along with continued efforts in peacekeeping and mine-clearing missions.

RCAF General Command spokesman Thong Solimo confirmed on Wednesday that besides helping train Cambodia’s blue helmet troops, the US will help in other areas of the Kingdom’s military.

“Previously, ties between Cambodia and the US had deteriorated. But they have improved since Murphy’s mandate. The ties became fruitful again thanks to US President Donald Trump.

“The president sent a letter to Samdech [Hun Sen] confirming respect for [Cambodia’s] sovereignty and non-interference in [our] internal affairs,” Solimo said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said that US’s pledge of helping Cambodia’s blue helmet troops would help improve bilateral relations.

“A good beginning is the normalisation of ties between the US and Cambodia. The US has been able to resume its connection with the RCAF, which is important in its geopolitics.

“For its part, Cambodia can allay the US’ pressing concerns over the deterioration of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and over Cambodia’s embrace of China,” he said.

US embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg declined on Wednesday to provide details of the meeting between Murphy and Pisen.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Eighty replacement peacekeepers set for Mali mission despite Covid

    Eighty Cambodian blue helmet soldiers who completed the peacekeeping mission under the UN umbrella in Mali will return to Cambodia on Friday, said the Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malida. “To protect their families and communities from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 are required to

  • Government set to make up for cancelled April holiday

    The government is set to make up for a five-day Khmer New Year holiday late this month or early next month. The holiday was earlier cancelled due to the onset of Covid-19. The announcement is expected on Friday as the government is studying a range

  • Families told to register for cash handouts

    The government has called on poor families to apply to commune authorities for evaluation to receive financial support during the Covid-19 crisis. A $300 million budget has been planned for implementation within a year. Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Vongsey Visoth said this