Cambodia and the US on Tuesday signed a bilateral military cooperation agreement covering this year and next, with the aim of strengthening ties in humanitarian affairs, education and military training.
The agreement was secured through a bilateral military dialogue at the Ministry of National Defence between Suon Samnang, the ministry’s General Department of Politics and Foreign Affairs deputy director-general, and Scott Burnside, the Pacific-US Command’s Southeast Asia policy director.
Samnang said the agreement focuses on humanitarian work – including the training of Cambodian peacekeeping forces – health programmes and the training of senior Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officers at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Security in Hawaii, the US.
He said cooperation projects between the ministry and the US prior to December 2016 numbered more than 100 per year. But this has substantially decreased in recent years.
“We have reduced the number of cooperation activities with the US to less than 10 this year. This is a substantial decrease if compared to previous years.
“The main reason is that over the past few years we have been busy with commune council and national elections. However, we continue to engage in military cooperation with the US, even on a limited scale,” he said.
Arend Zwartjes, US Embassy spokesperson, declined to comment on Wednesday, while ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat could not be reached.