Lieutenant General Hun Manet, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and Commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, led a delegation to attend the 23rd ASEAN Chiefs of Army Multilateral Meeting (ACAMM-23) in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi to discuss maintaining friendly relations and cooperation between ASEAN militaries.

ACAMM-23 was hosted by Vietnam on November 9 with the participation of the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army; Deputy Chief of Staff of the Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA); Commander-in-Chief of the Singaporean Army; Deputy Chief of Staff of the Lao People’s Army; Commander-in-Chief of Brunei’s military; Deputy Commander of the Indonesian Army; and the Commander of the Fifth Special Operations Bureau of Myanmar’s military.

According to the Information Department at the Ministry of National Defence, in addition to joint meetings, the Cambodian side also had bilateral meetings with other countries to discuss military cooperation.

During the bilateral meeting between Manet and Nguyen Van Nghia, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnamese People’s Army, the Vietnamese side praised the positive results of cooperation that took place after Manet’s official visit to Vietnam in August.

The visit in August was to arrange for joint training, practical joint exercises and joint tripartite exercises on disaster relief in September.

“The Vietnamese side is confident that the two countries’ armies will continue to cooperate well, including at the border, and continue to support human resource training,” the department said.

In response, Manet thanked the VPA for welcoming the RCAF’s delegates and allowing Cambodia’s pistol team to join in the training and competition to prepare for the ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet (AARM) event.

Manet also mentioned the importance of cooperation between neighbours to assist each other in the spirit of friendship and solidarity in all circumstances and predicted that the two countries’ positive relationship would last for generations to come.

In the meeting, both sides expressed their pride in their comprehensive cooperation in line with principles and key directives set by their governments, especially to strengthen and enhance bilateral relations to continue joint efforts to carry out tasks effectively and efficiently, aiming to bring about a more active development of relations between the armies.

In the bilateral meeting with Myanmar’s representative Thet Pon, the Myanmar side expressed confidence that the two countries would continue to maintain good cooperation in both bilateral and regional frameworks.

“Cambodia wants to see Myanmar be able to solve the problems it is facing now and return to normality soon. The RCAF’s armed forces are ready to support all further directions from the governments and defence ministries in promoting security and defence cooperation, which is an important strategic relationship,” Manet said by way of response.

Separately, in the bilateral meeting between Manet and the representative of Thailand’s army, both sides expressed their willingness to continue to maintain strong friendly relations and good cooperation at the army level.

The ministry’s information department highlighted that in the meeting, the two sides paid particular attention to fostering cooperation and mutual assistance responsibly in building border areas with friendship, peace, cooperation and development.

“For future direction, both sides have expressed their willingness to continue to maintain strong friendly relations and good cooperation activities at the army and subordinate unit levels in accordance with the content of the “Terms of Reference” between the two armies, aimed at maintaining the bonds of solidarity, friendship, trust and closer cooperation, which is an indispensable basis for defence and building both nations prosperity together,” the department stated.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said this meeting was very important for the armed forces of all ASEAN countries to take the opportunity to share experiences as well as exchange information to avoid any misunderstandings since many of them share either land or maritime borders, or both. He said it also prepares them for mutual assistance, especially on counter-terrorism operations and transnational crime.

“For Cambodia itself, our army is even more important and we also need experience from other countries because the army is the backbone of the nation’s defence sector and territorial integrity. If we have a stronger army that means our national defence has improved accordingly,” he said.