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China to extend defence cooperation

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and China’s People’s Liberation Army ended a two-week military exercise with counter-terrorism drills. KT/Mai Vireak KT/Mai Vireak

The Chinese military will continue its joint military exercise, dubbed Golden Dragon, with the Royal Cambodian Army next year, Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe told his Cambodian counterpart yesterday.

Defence Minister General Tea Banh said yesterday at the Council of Ministers that Gen Wei is in the country to extend cooperation between both countries, especially in the defence sector.

Gen Banh met with Gen Wei yesterday, when the latter briefed the general on the security situation in China and “the importance of the military sector for national security”.

“Mr Wei announced that a $130 million military package is to be given to Cambodia,” Gen Banh said. “And there will be a joint military exercise next year.”

Gen Banh added that Cambodia will also host the Chinese Navy for an experience sharing session with Cambodian naval forces.

Gen Wei is expected to visit the Brigade 70 this morning, prior to meeting Prime Minister Hun Sen in the afternoon. Mr Wei will inaugurate the Cambodia-China Military Exhibition in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

An unnamed senior Defence Ministry official said yesterday that the Chinese government has aided Cambodia’s military sector.

“Previously, China has helped to construct most buildings at the Thlok Tasek Military Institute – with millions of dollars,” the unnamed official said. “China helped build the Preah Ket Mealea Hospital and provided millions of dollars in hospital equipment.”

Additionally, China has provided 250 military transport vehicles and counter-terrorism and anti-riot gear, the official added.

Defence Ministry Spokesman General Chhum Sucheat said in a Facebook post yesterday that Chinese defence cooperation is vital in training the nation’s army.

“The Chinese government has helped to train hundreds of Cambodian soldiers in Thlok Tasek Military Institute for years now,” Gen Sucheat said.

In March last year, China granted $240 million in aid money following an agreement signed by Mr Hun Sen during a state visit to Beijing.

Mr Hun Sen met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mr Xi said that the aid would help Cambodia build schools, provide clean water and fund telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas.

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