Cambodia and Vietnam will hold a one-day joint military exercise on December 18, aimed at strengthening relations and collaboration on disaster rescue efforts.
Defence Minister General Tea Banh will preside over the opening ceremony of the exercise along the border between Svay Rieng province and Vietnam’s Long An province.
General Moeng Samphan, a Defence Ministry secretary of state, yesterday told reporters after a meeting to discuss the event that the joint military exercise will focus on helping people hit by natural disasters, build up joint capacity and strengthen relations between the two militaries.
“There will be a total of 1,000 troops, 500 from each country, taking part in the exercise and helicopters will also be used,” he noted. “Cambodia and Vietnam have adjacent borders so we can mobilise our forces to help each other when we have a disaster.”
Gen Samphan said that Cambodia is also considering having similar exercises with Thailand and Laos.
In October, Prime Minister Hun Sen and Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and Deputy Defence Minister discussed and agreed to conduct the joint military exercise.
Eang Sophalleth, personal assistant to the Prime Minister, said after the meeting that Mr Hun Sen noted that he was happy that the Kingdom’s and Vietnam’s military ties have been good, noting people of both nations live peacefully along the borders.
Mr Hun Sen told Lt Gen Van Giang that the exercise is crucial because once natural disasters, including forest fire and flooding, occur, quick rescue measures must be in place.
Kin Phea, director-general of International Relation Institute at Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said that Cambodia-Vietnam are good friends and neighbours so joint military exercises under the framework of neighbourhood cooperation will ensure security along the border.
“I think that joint military exercises will boost bilateral cooperation in the military sector and strengthen the capacity of both armies,” he said.
Mr Phea noted that the joint exercises will also help to dispel a public notion that Cambodia is walking away from Vietnam and getting closer to China.