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Explosions expected during exercise

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:

The Defence Ministry yesterday warned people living in Kampong Speu province to not be worried over the sound of explosions next week when the military begins conducting exercises with China in Samroang Tong district.

General Ith Sarath, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and chief of the committee in charge of the joint military exercise, said in a statement that Cambodia and China will hold a “Counter Terrorism and Humanity Work” exercise from March 15 to 30.

“Please all the people and all local level authorities be informed and don’t be surprised to hear the sound of explosions and movement of military vehicles within the district,” he said.

To guarantee security during the military exercise, the committee has asked the secretariat of civil aviation and local authorities to help disseminate information in order to prevent civilians from entering the exercise area and any planes or drones from flying over it.

Gen Sarath said further details of the exercise would be revealed at a press conference on Monday.

“We will hold the press conference on March 12 at the Defence Ministry, so all reporters can ask about details then,” Mr Sarath said, declining to comment further.

On Monday, Defence Minister Tea Banh said that China would bring some armoured personnel carriers and vehicles to participate in the military exercise.

About 30 armoured personnel carriers from China will arrive in Cambodia on March 13 several days before the exercise.

“Not only armoured personnel carriers, but also some other vehicles will arrive in Cambodia soon to join the military exercise,” Mr Banh said.

A senior military officer at the Defence Ministry said China would bring some armoured personnel carriers, three helicopters and other vehicles to join the exercise.

The exercise will include 280 Cambodian troops and 190 Chinese troops.

Prime Minister Hun Sen last week said that tonnes of weapons were shipped to Cambodia to bolster the country’s national defence a day after the United States announced that it would be reining back aid programmes, including military aid, because of perceived democratic setbacks.

A senior Ministry of Defence official said the equipment included heavy artillery, mortar shells, anti-aircraft weapons and other weapons for military units, and hinted that they originated from China, which has stepped up its support for Cambodia as ties with the US deteriorate.

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