Three helicopters, eight armoured personnel carriers and other military materials from China arrived in Cambodia yesterday a few days ahead of a military exercise between the Cambodian and Chinese militaries in Kampong Speu province.
General Chhum Sucheat, spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said yesterday that three helicopters had arrived in Cambodia on Tuesday while eight APCs and other military materials arrived yesterday for the joint military exercise in Samraong Tong district.
“All military materials and vehicles from China arrived,” Gen Sucheat said, noting that six helicopters and eight APCs belonging to the Cambodian military were slated to join the exercise that begins on Saturday.
“We will hold the joint military exercise between the Cambodian army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on the morning of March 17,” Gen Sucheat said, adding that Defence Minister Tea Banh was scheduled to preside over the closing of the exercise on March 29.
General Ith Sarath, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, declined to comment yesterday, but on Monday said the Chinese military would foot most of the bill for the exercise.
The joint military exercise will include 307 Cambodian troops and 216 Chinese troops, he added.
Gen Sarath said some topics of the exercise included road repairs, mine and UXO clearance, bridge construction, and resettlement of disaster victims.
There would also be machine-gun fire from helicopters onto terrorist camps and the shooting of rockets and heavy artillery.
Gen Sarath noted that last year Cambodia cancelled joint military exercises with the United States and China because RCAF was busy with a campaign against drugs, and with the commune elections.
“We are holding this exercise to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and China,” he said on Monday. “There is no other reason.”
Gen Sarath added that Cambodia also held joint military exercises with other countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.