The first official visit of a Singaporean military delegation to the Kingdom has been hailed as “symbolic” by the Royal Cambodian Army.
Major General Goh Si Hou, chief of Singapore’s army, started his visit on Sunday and he is set to leave the Kingdom today.
On Monday he met with Lieutenant General Hun Manet, commander of the RCA, at army headquarters in Phnom Penh where both sides stressed defence sector collaboration.
“The first official visit of the Singaporean army chief [Maj Gen Goh] to the Kingdom is a symbolic continuation of strengthening relations and cooperation,” according to an RCA statement issued yesterday.
It said Lt Gen Manet thanked Maj Gen Goh for Singapore’s continuous support in training RCA soldiers.
“This is a positive sign for the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries’ army,” Maj Gen Goh said as quoted by the statement. “We will continue to carry out tasks that have been discussed and agreed upon in the past.”
Kin Phea, director-general of International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said yesterday, Lt Gen Manet has brought army-to-army relations with foreign countries to a new level, resulting the RCA being well-equipped.
“I think the visit is very important for both nations because we face common security issues,” Mr Phea said.
Additionally, Maj Gen Goh yesterday met with General Vong Pisen, commander in chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, at the general command headquarters in Phnom Penh.
Major General Thong Solimo, a spokesman for the RCAF, said military ties with Singapore bore fruitful results.
“The RCAF has been experiencing significant progress in capacity building,” Maj Gen Solimo said.
Maj Gen Solimo said Maj Gen Goh thanked Gen Pisen for sharing Cambodia’s experience in garnering peace during the civil war decades ago.“The two countries will continue to work together,” he said.
Cambodia and Singapore this year will celebrate 55 years of diplomatic ties. Even though the official day will not be until August, the Singaporean embassy will host a street festival from February 15 to 29 to commemorate the anniversary.
Maj Gen Goh yesterday answered a courtesy call from Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace.
Eang Sophalleth, the prime minister’s assistant, told reporters after the meeting Mr Hun Sen told Maj Gen Goh army-to-army relations are important because it provides experience-sharing and training.
“The army has the role to protect the nation and the interests of its people,” Mr Hun Sen said as quoted by Mr Sophalleth.