Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Weapons aren’t staying after drill, general says



Weapons aren’t staying after drill, general says

A new military vehicle is taken through its paces during the first Chinese-Cambodian Golden Dragon military exercises in 2016. The Ministry of Defence recently unveiled details for this month's iteration.
A new military vehicle is taken through its paces during the first Chinese-Cambodian Golden Dragon military exercises in 2016. The Ministry of Defence recently unveiled details for this month's iteration. Heng Chivoan

Weapons aren’t staying after drill, general says

General Ith Sarath on Monday revealed more details of the upcoming Golden Dragon military exercise with China, while denying that any weapons or equipment brought to the Kingdom would remain permanently following the drills.

At a press conference, Sarath, a deputy RCAF commander, said the training exercises beginning March 17 would include mine removal and destruction, chemical weapons removal and neutralisation, hostage rescue operations and attacks on terrorist camps.

Helicopters, machine guns, rocket launchers, mortars and armoured personnel carriers will all be used in the live-fire drills hosted by Kampong Speu province’s Brigade 70.

The general also said 574 military officials will participate in the exercise – 216 Chinese soldiers and 307 Cambodian soldiers – an increase from previous estimates.

Sarath declined to comment on the cost of the exercises, but did say China would pay the bulk of it.

“You know that most of the cost will be paid by China,” he said.

Similar trainings were cancelled with the US and Australia in 2017, ostensibly because the government was too busy with the upcoming July elections. A military official, however, confirmed last week it was because of the many “conditions” placed on cooperation by the West.

“Please don’t take these countries to compare to each other,” he continued, warning journalists not to “shame” the armed forces.

Despite this disclaimer, Sarath himself briefly lashed out at the US’s recent decision to cut military aid. “There was no need for the US to suspend it, we suspended with them in 2017, before they did it,” he said.

Sarath also noted the drills with China are a “special” occasion marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties with the regional giant.

Government-affiliated media outlet Bayon TV previously reported that some equipment would stay behind as part of an aid package, a claim substantiated by the deputy commander of Brigade 70 last week, but denied by Sarath on Monday. “If their unit brings it, they come to do exercise with us and after the exercise, they bring it back,” he said.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Tea Banh assured his audience at Phnom Penh’s Defence Ministry that the exercises were “not a threat to other countries or any individual”.

Banh also said the exercise was “more special” than any other year, and would include larger weaponry than previous training events.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Without shoes or a helmet, a young cyclist steals the show

    Pech Theara gripped the curved handlebars of his rusty old bike, planted his bare feet on its pedals and stormed as fast as he could towards the finish line. The odds were against him as the 13-year-old faced off against kids with nicer bikes at

  • Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway on schedule

    The construction of the more than $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has not been delayed despite the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 26 per cent of the project completed and expected to finish in about two years, according to Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there