Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tea Banh looks to Chinese

Tea Banh looks to Chinese

Defence Minister Tea Banh (right) meets with Chinese Defence General Zhao Wenhua (left) yesterday in Phnom Penh.
Defence Minister Tea Banh (right) meets with Chinese Defence General Zhao Wenhua (left) yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Tea Banh looks to Chinese

Cambodia, which this year suspended major military drills with the United States for two years saying the armed forces were too busy, is prepared for defence exercises with the Chinese, Defence Minister Tea Banh told a military delegation from Beijing this week.

Banh discussed military-to-military cooperation with the Chinese armed forces in a meeting with representatives of the Chinese National Defence University on Wednesday.

“Cambodia is prepared to conduct other exercises with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as well as preparing for the Chinese navy’s docking in Cambodia,” Banh told the delegation’s leader, Major General Zhao Wenhua, according to a press release.

In January, Cambodia said it would suspend for two years the long-running annual “Angkor Sentinel” exercises with the US military, saying its troops were too busy.

The decision came in wake of a major joint exercise with China and was followed by the scrapping of a humanitarian programme run by the US Navy and cancelled anti-terrorism exercises run by Australia.

Observers saw the moves as part of Cambodia’s tilt away from the West and towards China, which has showered the Kingdom with grants, loans and investment.

However, Defence Ministry spokesman Chum Socheat denied playing favourites.

He said cooperating with the Chinese involved ongoing training programmes, such as language training, and not new exercises.

He said while some exercises would remain “delayed temporarily”, others would continue, but did not give further details.

Asked whether drills would continue with the US, he said the ministry “will wait and see the situation, whether it is fruitful or not”.

US Embassy spokesman David Josar referred questions on the matter to Cambodian authorities.

MOST VIEWED

  • Twenty years after Pol Pot died a broken man, his memory looms large

    Two decades have passed, but Mea Chron still stands by Pol Pot. Most days he also stands by the mass murderer’s cremation site, keeping guard in the Khmer Rouge’s last stronghold of Anlong Veng. Pol Pot, the widely reviled despot who spearheaded the

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • ‘Trouble’ foreseen in Khmer New Year almanac

    At 9:12am on Saturday, Cambodia’s devout can expect the arrival of Moha Thorathevey, an angel on a peacock holding a trident in one hand and an auspicious serrated wheel in the other. The angel, who has a liking for water hyacinths, will usher in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the