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US warship docks in Sihanoukville to help firm up bilateral ties

US warship docks in Sihanoukville to help firm up bilateral ties

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5-story-2.jpg

The guided-missile frigate USS Mustin is to participate in joint

training exercises, as well as social and humanitarian projects

Photo by: KHUON LEAKHANA

The American warship USS Mustin in Sihanoukville on Saturday.

Sihanoukville

THE American warship USS Mustin docked near Sihanoukville on Saturday as part of ongoing efforts to forge stronger bilateral ties between Cambodia and the United States, Cambodian and US embassy officials told reporters over the weekend.

Officials added that the guided-missile frigate will remain in Sihanoukville until Wednesday. Its crew will dispense medical and humanitarian aid to local residents and also conduct joint naval training exercises.

"We are visiting Cambodia to show the strong will of the United States for stability and to improve the economy in the region," said Charles Williams, deputy commander of the Mustin.

Joint training

Williams said the arrival of the warship provided an opportunity for Cambodia and the US to exchange experience and to collaborate on joint training in the protection of coastal areas.

"We think this is an important step," he said, adding that US naval personnel will also help train their Cambodian counterparts in responding to natural disasters.

Piper Campbell, charge d'affaires at the US Embassy, told reporters that this was the third time an American warship had docked in the Kingdom and that while ship visits had become something of a regular event, they were nonetheless important.

She said the US was a friend and partner with Cambodia in the area of anti-terrorism, and that joint exercises between the two countries' militaries aimed at enhancing security and peace in the region while improving living conditions in the Kingdom.

Humanitarian efforts

Sborng Sarath, governor of Sihanoukville, said he was proud to welcome the warship.

"We know that every time US ships dock here, their naval commanders are attentive in supporting social work and strengthening the education and humanitarian sectors," he said.

The Mustin carries 32 naval officers and 348 enlisted, including one Cambodian sailor who serves as an electrician, according to a US embassy press release from Friday.

Kha Sok, 24, was born in Koh Kong province to a Thai father and Cambodian mother.

"I am very happy to be a US sailor working on a warship under serious and strict discipline," he said.

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