The Cambodian and Chinese militaries will hold their second joint military exercise in March to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
General Ith Sarath, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said in a statement yesterday that the exercise would take place in Kampong Speu province’s Phnom Sruoch district.
“The topic of the joint exercise is missions against terrorism and humanitarian affairs concerning both Cambodia and China,” Gen Sarath said.
The exercise will include 280 Cambodian troops and 190 Chinese troops.
Gen Sarath said it was the second joint military exercise between the two countries, and like the first one would involve mine clearing, destruction of unexploded ordnance or chemical weapons, fighting with tanks, rescuing hostages, and humanitarian affairs.
The general ordered all unit commanders to plan, organise, and hone their skills for the “Golden Dragon” exercise to be successful.
General Chhum Sucheat, spokesman for the Defence Ministry, deflected criticism saying that Cambodia only held joint military exercises with China and not other countries such as the US or Australia.
“We hold this important joint military exercise because we want to commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia,” he said. “We deny all accusations that Cambodia does not hold joint military exercises with America or Australia.”
Gen Sucheat said Cambodia would hold such exercises with other countries at any available time.
In 2016, the joint training with China was held at the Thlok Tasek Military Institute in Kampong Speu province, and included 85 Chinese and 256 Cambodian active military personnel. It involved road repairs, mine and UXO clearance, bridge construction, and resettlement of disaster victims.
American and Cambodian forces officially opened Angkor Sentinel in 2016, an annual bilateral military exercise hosted by RCAF and sponsored by the US army.