Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tea Banh attacks US, says troops prepared

Tea Banh attacks US, says troops prepared

Defence Minister Tea Banh speaks to officials on Monday at the Defence Ministry in Phnom Penh.
Defence Minister Tea Banh speaks to officials on Monday at the Defence Ministry in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Tea Banh attacks US, says troops prepared

Defence Minister Tea Banh yesterday portrayed his forces as prepared for a David-and-Goliath-style showdown with the US, which he blamed for sowing unrest around the world, and whose purported “colour revolution” in the Kingdom he vowed to quash.

The comments doubled down on the ongoing government broadside against the US for allegedly helping opposition leader Kem Sokha attempt to topple the government – an accusation seemingly based on a 2013 video in which Sokha describes receiving advice from the US, and for which the CNRP president is currently jailed on widely condemned charges of “treason”.

Speaking at a meeting with senior military officials, Banh said the US – which he referred to as “the superpower” – had attempted to cause unrest in countries unfavourable to it under the guise of being “the father of democracy”, as it had with the purported Sokha treason plot.

“They just take the chance to organise those plans, and they have organised it for a long time,” he said. “We need to prepare to face the future challenge, because it will come. We cannot forget their ambitions.”

He said it was the US’s foreign policy to cause turmoil in countries for its own benefit, pointing to its interference during the Khmer Rouge era and the ensuing decades of civil war. Citing what he characterised as widespread bafflement over Sokha’s arrest and Hun Sen’s apparent antagonism towards the US, he said the premier had been able to take the extreme measure only because Cambodia was able to fight back and would not be cowed.

“I dare to say this, and we dare to arrest the opposition leader, so we will not step back, but we only will step forward,” he said. “They put sanctions on us in the 1980s until we lost flesh and blood. But we will face it.”

Banh’s comments were not his first provocative remarks – before the June commune elections he vowed to “smash the teeth” of would-be opposition protesters – and came in the midst of a sustained effort by government officials to publicly justify the arrest of Sokha and attack the US.

Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat yesterday backed up his superior, saying that no efforts would be spared to ensure internal security, but said the minister’s comments on “future challenges” did not refer to military actions.

“We will not allow them to use people or forces to destroy the happiness of people,” he said. “[But] we have no capacity to go to war with the US.”

MOST VIEWED

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.

  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Koh Rong land ‘belongs to firm’

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration spokesperson Kheang Phearum told The Post on Sunday that the 35ha being bulldozed by Royal Group Co Ltd in Koh Rong belongs to it after it was leased to it for 99 years by the government in 2008. Phearum said the land does

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.