On April 25, 2020, the Chinese Air Force transport plane, loaded with anti-pandemic materials, landed at Phnom Penh Airport again, bringing deep affection and good wishes from the 1.4 billion Chinese people and 2 million Chinese People’s Liberation Army officers and soldiers. It was the third batch of anti-pandemic materials donated by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense to the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense and once again proved the iron-clad brotherhood of the two armed forces and their firm determination to work together against the COVID-19. The pandemic spreading across the world has widened the distance between people, but the two armed forces of China and Cambodia are closer in heart and hold their hands tighter than before.
When China was at its most difficult time, Cambodia reached out. 80 days ago, a plane landed at Beijing Capital International Airport. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited China urgently and gave China strong political and moral support, interpreting the core essence of the China-Cambodia Community of Shared Future with his practical actions. During the visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Hun Sen reached an important consensus on further deepening bilateral relations, especially on joining hands in the fight against the pandemic. On March 2, the handover ceremony of the Cambodian Ministry of National Defense ’s donation of anti-pandemic materials to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense was held at the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh. Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense said at the ceremony that Cambodia firmly supports China’s anti-pandemic efforts and firmly believes that the Chinese government, armed forces and people have the ability to overcome the crisis.
To live up to the trust of the people and to fulfill the mission assigned by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, Chinese PLA made outstanding contributions to the anti-COVID-19 battle by mobilizing all resources and blocking the spread of the virus. PLA went to the front right after receiving the order. On Jan. 24, only one day after Wuhan lockdown, a PLA medical team arrived in the city and they were the country’s first medical team to support Wuhan. PLA bravely shouldered the heavy burden. A total of more than 4,000 PLA medical staff joined the fight in Wuhan and they took care of 2856 beds and treated 7198 COVID-19 patients. PLA medics showed their superb skills. They successfully completed the task and achieved the goal of “winning the battle with zero infection”. PLA is equally good in scientific research. Its recombinant adenoviral vector vaccine entered phase I clinical trial on March 16, the first in China, and entered phase II clinical trial on April 12, the first in the world.
“While a green mountain stretches between us, we still stand the same winds and rains.” Viruses know no borders, and the entire human race is a community of shared future, and the dawn of victory can only come sooner if we support each other. China will not forget the anti-pandemic support provided by the governments and armed forces of countries like Cambodia. The Chinese military is strengthening anti-COVID-19 cooperation with the militaries around the world and, to the best of its ability, providing anti-pandemic assistance to Cambodian armed forces and others, so as to jointly safeguard international health security and build up a community of common health for mankind.
“Only pines and cypresses can stand the test of cold weather and only true friendship can overcome the adversity.” On March 24, a group of PLA medical experts arrived in Phnom Penh to assist the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces to fight COVID-19. They were the first anti-pandemic unit dispatched overseas by PLA globally, creating another “first” in the relationship between the Chinese and Cambodian armed forces. For more than a month, the expert group and Cambodian colleagues have gone all out and cooperated very closely to meet the difficulties and to race against time. They helped to establish the entire process of pandemic prevention and treatment and greatly improved RCAF’s capabilities of fighting COVID-19. Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen gave them high praise for their work, and Deputy Prime Minister Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh inspected their work site and consulted them several times and expressed his full satisfaction.
The pandemic has promoted medical and health interactions between the Chinese and Cambodian armed forces, and activities in other fields were not stopped, demonstrating a strong strategic mutual trust and an in-depth practical cooperation. From March 15 to April 1, the “Golden Dragon 2020” Joint Training of the Chinese and Cambodian armed forces was held as scheduled in Cambodia. The two troops combined to carry out multi-service joint operations. The training subjects were successfully completed and no one was infected with COVID-19 virus. The goals of both military training and pandemic prevention and control were achieved at the same time, leaving a strong mark in the history of friendly cooperation between the two countries and the two armed forces.
“Trust grows like a tree as we keep watching out for each other.” The mutual assistance between the Chinese and Cambodian armed forces is sincere and does not contain any conditions. The cooperation between the Chinese and Cambodian armed forces is mutually beneficial and does not target any third party. The two militaries joined hands to fight the pandemic and made every effort to protect the lives and health of the people of the two countries. Their cooperation embodies the spirit of an unbreakable community of shared future and the true spirit of internationalism and humanitarianism, and sets exemplar for any other bilateral military cooperation in the world.
The COVID-19 is far from being eliminated, and the situation of prevention and control is still grim. The two armed forces still carry heavy burdens and have a long way to go. Fight on, Cambodia and China! Fight on, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army!
Written by Senior Colonel Li Jingfeng, the Defense Attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Cambodia