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Cambodian general visits Myanmar to enhance national defence cooperation

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RCAF commander-in-chief Vong Pisen (third left) shakes hands with Myanmar State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi. RCAF

Cambodian general visits Myanmar to enhance national defence cooperation

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief Vong Pisen is now in Myanmar leading a delegation that aims to improve ties, particularly in national defence, with the fellow Asean member.

The timing of Pisen’s four-day visit to the Southeast Asian neighbour is highly symbolic, with Cambodia and Myanmar this year marking the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

On Tuesday, Pisen met with Min Aung Hlaing, a senior general in the Myanmar Army and the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, and Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, said a press release from the Cambodian Ministry of National Defence issued on Wednesday.

Pisen said the visit demonstrates that the nations enjoy an amicable relationship.

“During his visit, Pisen intends to develop and strengthen cooperation in national defence. He will also seek to exchange experiences and information on national security, crackdowns on transnational crimes and terrorism, the trafficking of humans, drugs and weapons, and human resource training,” the ministry said.

It said Suu Kyi has accepted an invitation to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting 2020, which Cambodia will host. The ministry also pointed out that Prime Minister Hun Sen intends to host a celebration to mark the anniversary of bilateral ties.

Ministry of National Defence spokesperson Chhum Socheat could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Koy Kuong said Cambodia and Myanmar have had a long history of diplomatic relations, and that ties between the countries improved even further after they became members of Asean.

“Historically, Cambodia and Myanmar have had cordial relations. We have worked together in sectors like tourism, culture, trade and economy without any real highlight or surprise. Relations have always been normal and uncomplicated,” he said.

Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia highlighted the cooperation on education and religion, noting that the nations practice the same school of Buddhism.

Phea said the countries have always supported each other in regional and global issues discussed as part of Asean, and noted strong similarities between the countries’ governments and stage of economic development.

“Cooperation in national defence and military issues is not very developed or strategic yet, but we do see that the nations have similar points of view regarding many security problems in the region and the world,” he added.

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