Three Chinese naval vessels yesterday docked at Sihanoukville port for a four-day visit to strengthen ties between the navies of Cambodia and China.
The warships will be in Sihanoukville autonomous port until Saturday.
Vice admiral Tea Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy, said yesterday that the visit is to boost ties between both countries’ navies.
“The arrival of the warships’ is to strengthen the relationship and we will hold a joint-naval exercise,” Vice Admiral Sokha said. “We do not plan to hold discussions on any military assistance from China.”
The Chinese warships “PLANS Wuhu (FFG539)”, “PLANS Handan (FFG579)” and “PLANS Dong Ping Lake (AOR960)” are between 135 meters to 179 meters long and weigh between 4,000 and 20,000 tonnes.
Sok Touch, president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said that there is nothing unique about Chinese naval vessels docking in Cambodia, noting that US and Russian warships have also docked in the country’s waters.
Mr Touch said that the arrival of the Chinese naval vessels only demonstrates the close cooperation between both countries’ navies.
“Firstly, it is a sign of cooperation towards promoting maritime peace and providing training to our Cambodian navy,” Mr Touch said. “Secondly, both Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese president Xi Jinping have determined that Cambodia and China have good relations and we see the arrival of the warships as the strengthening of naval ties.”
“Thirdly, it shows that our foreign relations provides equal opportunities for any country’s navy to dock in Cambodian territory in a sign of peace and cooperation,” he added.
A statement from the Chinese embassy said this is the fourth time that Chinese warships have visited Cambodia in recent years.
“After the ceremony, people got into and visited the warships,” the staement added.