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

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia's cluster cases jump to 259

    The Ministry of Health on February 27 recorded 26 more cases of Covid-19 linked to the February 20 community transmission, bringing the total to 259 in one week. The 26 include three Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. The ministry noted that five of the Chinese