Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New tanks purchase for Cambodia's territorial security

New tanks purchase for Cambodia's territorial security

New tanks purchase for Cambodia's territorial security

Tanks and armoured personnel carriers that arrived at Sihanoukville port in October 2012 will be used for self-defence but will not be deployed offensively, Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday.

Speaking to more than 1,000 villagers and several dozen military commanders in Siem Reap’s Banteay Srey district, Hun Sen stressed the nation had no plan to invade its neighbours.

“We just bought tanks and artillery to use for training and strengthening the capacity of military; only for self-defence, not to create war with any country,” Hun Sen said.

The prime minister said he would not disclose the origins of the tanks, which Defence Minister Tea Banh last week said came from Ukraine, as it was a “confidential” matter.

About 100 tanks and 40 armoured personnel carriers arrived in Cambodia last month, marking one of the largest military shipments in recent history. The purchase falls in line with a military budget that has seen significant ramping up in recent years. In the most recent budget, expected to be voted into effect tomorrow, defence spending is set to jump more than 14 per cent to $400.16 million in 2013.

In September 2010, in the middle of a border dispute with Thailand, Cambodia purchased 94 tanks from an Eastern Euro-pean country widely thought to be Ukraine. The same year, China donated some 250 vehicles to the Cambodian military.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said the party supported the decision to buy tanks or weapons to protect territorial sovereignty, but said he was concerned over a lack of transparency regarding military finances. Hun Sen also used his speech to apologise to the security officials for not calling them once a ceasefire at the Thai border went into effect in May 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • The Christian NGO empowering Cambodian families in Siem Reap

    With its basketball court, football pitch, tennis court and ninja warrior water sports area, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Siem Reap campus of International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Cambodia is a sports centre. But while these free, family-friendly activities are one of the