A CHINESE military delegation officially handed over a shipment of 257 military lorries to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) during a ceremony at the Phnom Penh military air base on Wednesday.
At the ceremony, General Chi Wanchun, the political commissar of the People’s Liberation Army’s General Armaments Department, gave the brand-new vehicles to RCAF officers.
Afterwards, Sry Tamarong, a personal adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, expressed Cambodia’s gratitude to Chinese President Hu Jintao for recent economic and military aid from Beijing.
“The aid from China is not only helping our economic development, but most importantly it is helping to strengthen the sovereignty and independence of Cambodia,” he said.
“Hu Jintao has released the order to the Chinese military delegation to help strengthen the military cooperation between the two countries.”
Sry Tamarong also reiterated Cambodia’s support for Beijing’s One China policy, which advocates a peaceful reunion between Taiwan and mainland China.
The shipment of Chinese lorries was first announced by Cambodian officials in early May, one month after the US cancelled a similar shipment in retaliation for the government’s deportation of 20 ethnic Uighur asylum seekers in December last year.
The group had arrived in November in a bid to seek political asylum after fleeing ethnic violence in China’s Xinjiang province in July.
Many observers linked the deportation of the Uighurs with the arrival a day later of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who proceeded to sign US$1.2 billion in economic investment agreements with the Cambodian government. Chinese and Cambodian officials have denied the two events were linked.