Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the government has welcomed resumed military drills with the United States after it has suspended it between the two nations for about three years.
His comment was made in response to some critics who accused the Kingdom of holding military drill with China last month despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a press conference in Phnom Penh yesterday, Mr Hun Sen yesterday said that the government welcomed all military exercises with the United States, Australia, or France if they are interested.
“Now we welcome the exercise with the US and whatever you have requested,” he said. “I welcome military exercises with all countries which have ties with Cambodia.”
He said that the government suspended its military drill with the US in 2017 because the Kingdom held the commune elections.
Mr Hun Sen also called on the US to stop using a pretext that Cambodia rejected its military assistance or ceased military exercise drill with it.
Mr Hun Sen said that the Kingdom held a military exercise with China because it has not yet placed its country in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Is it a mistake to build up relations with China?” he asked. “I do not choose either America, France or Europe, we have all the relationship with them, except in terrorism,” Mr Hun Sen said.
Last month, the Kingdom and China held the annual military exercise in Kampot province’s Chumkiri district where about 3,000 soldiers of both nations descended upon a 10,000-hectare training area.
Dubbed “Golden Dragon”, the exercise’ opening ceremony displayed troops and heavy weapons, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and attack helicopters.
It focused on counter-terrorism capacity and humanitarian activities.
Kin Phea, director general of the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said that the Kingdom cooperates with all countries regarding military exercises not only with China.
“Golden Dragon military exercise with China clearly showed relations and cooperation in the military sector between Cambodia and China are genuine,” he said.
He said that Mr Hun Sen’s message is to show the government’s willingness to enhance its military cooperation with the US and other countries.
“The door is now open for negotiating a cooperation in the military sector with the US and other countries,” Mr Phea said.