A delegation of 15 senior Cambodian military officers, led by Chan Saroeurn, arrived at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre in Bangkok for a four-day workshop commencing June 27.

The aim of this workshop was to further enhance understanding on disaster relief among Cambodian military officials and to discuss potential future training opportunities.

According to a July report from the Ministry of National Defence, Saroeurn, who heads the department of education at the ministry and also serves on the Cambodia-Thailand General Border Committee (GBC), met with Suransak Puthsovan, the head of Thai Army Affairs Office and leader of the GBC.

The meeting was a follow-up to a video conference conducted between the two armies in December 2022, as well as the fifteenth GBC meeting held in November of the same year.

The discussions during these previous meetings indicated a willingness to cooperate in all areas, with particular focus on security training and emergency disaster response.

Delegates included representatives from various units within Cambodia and Thailand, such as civil servants and army personnel.

During their visit, the delegates were informed about the capabilities of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre and the army development headquarters.

The delegates were also given insights into various training courses, including the use of rescue tools in scenarios involving collapsed buildings.

The report further detailed that the two governments were promoting joint disaster response efforts, and appreciated the cooperative measures to protect lives and property along the border.

“If joint cooperation and operative measures take form, then, it can reduce the loss of life, properties of people living along the border more effectively,” the report stated.

Thong Mengdavid, research fellow at the Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, commented on July 2 that this visit was a positive development.

He noted the focus on humanitarian cooperation and disaster management, emphasising the importance of experience sharing and future joint military exercises.

“This trip was about developing the capacity of the Cambodian military and deepening the bonds of friendship and solidarity with neighbouring countries to foster cooperation, peace and stability in the region.

“Cambodia and Thailand are friends and neighbours who have made significant contributions to the development of border security, information sharing and combating transnational crimes,” Mengdavid said.

The 15th GBC meeting was held in Bangkok last November and saw the attendance of important figures including Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for National Defence, Tea Banh, as well as Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Prawit Wongsuwon.

The aim was to strengthen relations between the two armies, particularly the units tasked with Cambodia-Thailand security affairs.