Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Outgoing US Ambassador in military cooperation talks

Outgoing US Ambassador in military cooperation talks

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Outgoing US Ambassador to Cambodia William A Heidt. Heng Chivoan

Outgoing US Ambassador in military cooperation talks

Outgoing US Ambassador to Cambodia William A Heidt on Monday met with Secretary of State at the Ministry of National Defence General Neang Phat to discuss possible challenges and opportunities in rebuilding military cooperation between the nations.

The topics were raised during Heidt’s farewell visit to the Ministry of National Defence, according to a US Embassy Facebook post.

All military exercises with the US were suspended when the Ministry of National Defence “temporarily postponed” the annual Angkor Sentinel joint exercises in January last year, saying the Kingdom’s military “was busy with a drugs crackdown and preparations for election security”.

It then “postponed indefinitely” a US Navy Mobile Construction Battalion humanitarian programme in which the “Seabees” work with their Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) counterparts on community service projects across the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, in March last year, Cambodia and China held their first “Golden Dragon” joint military exercise.

The drills, which involved some 100 Chinese troops, were seen by many as yet another sign of Cambodia turning increasingly towards China.

“Chinese aid does not only contribute to the development of Cambodia’s economy, it also helps the strengthening of the Kingdom’s independence and sovereignty,” Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said at the closing of the Golden Dragon exercises.

As military cooperation between Cambodia and China increases, the US expressed concerns over a claim there was a Chinese naval base under construction in Koh Kong province.

Prime Minister Hun Sen responded by saying foreign military bases in the Kingdom are not allowed.

In response, Heidt said the concerns should be addressed transparently, according to a US Embassy statement on its Facebook page.

“The Ambassador acknowledged the government’s public statements that Cambodia would never allow a foreign military base on Cambodian soil and noted the importance of continued dialogue and transparency on this issue,” it said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said “Cambodia spurns the American approach at its peril”.

“It is in Cambodia’s interest to renew this cooperation with the US to balance China’s increasing domination,” he said.

Emily Zeeberg, the US Embassy spokesperson, declined to comment on the matter.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese nationals on the decline in Sihanoukville?

    It is no secret that real estate prices in Sihanoukville have been on the rise over the last few years due to the influx of Chinese nationals. Their arrival has brought investment in the real estate, construction, hotel and casino sectors, as well as small

  • PP massage parlours raided, 29 suspects held for prostitution

    The Phnom Penh municipal Military Police on Sunday raided four massage parlours in Por Sen Chey district and detained 29 suspects for questioning over their alleged involvement in prostitution. Deputy municipal Military Police commander Pu Davy on Monday said the four massage parlours were located near

  • PM: All 10 Asean countries to receive Rainsy arrest warrants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Thursday that all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states will receive warrants for the arrest of Sam Rainsy. The warrants have already been sent to Laos and Thailand. He was speaking at a joint press conference at

  • Overtourism still threatens Angkor Wat

    Ticket sales to the Angkor temples are down. An Angkor Enterprise report has revealed that ticket sales to the Angkor Archaeological Park dropped by more than 11 per cent from the same period last year. Prime Minister Hun Sen isn’t concerned. He told journalists that