Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 29 met Japan's top military commander at the Peace Palace, according to a statement posted on the premier’s official Facebook page.
During the meeting, General Koji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defence Forces (SDF), informed Hun Sen that his visit to Cambodia was meant to boost bilateral relations in the defence field, in line with a recent joint communique by leaders of the two countries.
General Yamazaki also praised Cambodia for sending troops to UN peacekeeping missions in many countries, the statement said.
He informed Hun Sen that he had already met with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) deputy commander and Royal Cambodian Army (RCA) commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet and RCAF commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen for talks on cooperation.
General Yamazaki said discussions with the top RCAF officials touched on long-term cooperation in defence, humanitarian assistance, disaster rescue and counter-terrorism, with a view toward a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The premier encouraged the two armies to continue working together on existing programmes and hold joint exercises on disaster rescue and counter-terrorism, the statement said.
During his meeting with Lieutenant General Manet on April 28, General Yamazaki lauded bilateral cooperative ties between Japan and Cambodia as “close and fruitful”, which he said signal a “strong” friendship reinforced with trust and mutual respect, the Ministry of National Defence’s Information Department said in a separate statement.
“[General] Yamazaki is committed to lifting relations between the armies of the two countries to new heights, and especially to contributing to capacity building for the Cambodian army,” the department said.
Lieutenant General Manet mirrored General Yamazaki’s sentiment, saying the visit constituted a fresh commitment to the promotion of Cambodia-Japan friendship and elevating defence cooperation to the next level.
Manet said the RCA was “ready to strengthen and expand cooperation at all levels”, especially through human resources training, experience sharing and joint exercises.
He described Japan’s SDF as a “good friend of Cambodia in all situations”, and said that friendship began when the unified military forces accepted the Kingdom’s independence – on November 9, 1953 – and was cemented by peacebuilding initiatives and efforts to advance development of the battle-scarred Southeast Asian country in the post-war era, according to the department.