The South Korean Defence Ministry has pledged to continue supporting the Royal Cambodian Army by offering training.
The pledge was made on Wednesday when army commander Lieutenant General Hun Manet held bilateral talks with South Korean Defence Ministry Vice Minister Park Jae Min at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition.
Lt Gen Manet departed for Seoul on Tuesday and is due to return today.
According to Cambodian military working group’s report, Lt Gen Manet held discussions with Mr Park to strengthen the defence relationship and support an initiative to have official ties between both armies.
“The South Korean Defence Ministry backs the initiative to have official army ties between the two countries to strengthen and deepen the relationship,” it said.
Lt Gen Manet said that he also requested more army training.
“I requested South Korea to continue providing more training to the Cambodian army in the future,” Lt Gen Manet said.
Lt Gen Manet also held talks on Wednesday with General Suh Wook, general officer of the South Korean army.
According to army spokesman Major General Mao Phalla, Gen Suh said that South Korea and Cambodia have engaged in diplomatic relations since the 1970s, noting that South Korea has always supported and helped train the Cambodian army and has also provided some military equipment.
“The South Korean army’s stance is to continue helping and strengthening bilateral relations between the two armies,” Gen Suh was quoted as saying.
Maj Gen Phalla said that Lt Gen Manet noted the two countries’ diplomatic relations were re-engaged in 1997 as initiated by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“He [Lt Gen Manet] hopes that his visit will strengthen the relations between the two armies,” Maj Gen Phalla said. “We have to make a lot of friends and that’s a good thing.”
Kin Phea, director general of the International Relations Institute of Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that building up official army ties between both countries was a good start.
“We have not yet seen a deepening relations in the military sector,” he said, noting that Cambodia has seen an increase of South Korean tourists and investment.
“For the military sector, it is a good start to have cooperation with South Korea as the Cambodian army will strengthen its capacity through training or joint exercises,” Mr Phea said.