The Ministry of National Defence said that borders were peaceful and public order within Cambodia was excellent as a result, it said. This was particularly important in the year when, as chair of ASEAN, many important guests were welcomed to the Kingdom.

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh led a December 23 meeting to review the ministry’s work results of 2022 and plan its working direction for 2023. The meeting brought together officials and commanders of the air force, the navy and the army, as well as representatives from other institutions.

The participants offered their appreciation for the progress in strengthening border security that had been made.

Ministry secretary-general Sam Vanthan said that in 2022, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) had fulfilled their duties under the government’s rectangular strategic political platform.

He added that the situation on the land and water borders was stable, as Cambodia had successfully combated all kinds of offences and illegal transnational crossings. The borders are now areas of peace, friendship, cooperation and development.

The ministry said public order had improved as the RCAF had cooperated with the authorities at all levels to prevent all kinds of offences.

They had also safeguarded the safety and security of the national and international leaders and delegates who had attended the ASEAN summits, and had taken part in rescuing the victims of natural disasters.

Tea Banh said that the year 2022 mattered to Cambodia and its security diplomacy. Cambodia hosted the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and related meetings in person, thanks to the successful suppression of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Alongside these achievements, we have paid close attention to the work of building on our proud military history and fulfilling peacekeeping missions under the UN umbrella,” he added.

Royal Academy of Cambodia secretary-general Yang Peou agreed with the ministry’s assessment of its performance in 2022, but said he would like to see the strengthening of the RCAF, particularly in terms of its equipment, so it could play a more substantial role in defence.

“The government succeeded in maintaining order during the ASEAN summit, which I believe was due to their excellent preparations,” he added.

Thong Mengdavid, research fellow at the Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies of the Asian Vision Institute, said Cambodia had taken a strong stance in building and developing the areas which bordered neighbouring countries.

As chair of ASEAN, it had succeeded in introducing policies which developed the economy, peace and stability in the region and the globe, with the participation of ASEAN member countries as well as major powers.

“Cambodia held the ADMM and the ADMM-plus, which resulted in joint statements on protecting regional security, promoting stability and fostering cooperation to combat various transnational crimes and push for peace talks for the crisis in Ukraine,” he added.

He continued that these achievements reflected Cambodia’s interest in building an international society with respect for international principles and legal mechanisms.