Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday visited troops in Stung Treng province along the border with Laos, where he announced the creation of a new brigade following tensions between the countries.
The visit and announcement of the new brigade follows a negotiated settlement between the two countries’ prime ministers for Laos to remove troops that encroached upon Cambodian soil last week.
“We will set up a new brigade 128 or called infantry brigade 128 for the first military region,” Mr Hun Sen said on his Facebook page.
“The main purpose is to improve the effectiveness of the armed forces.”
Mr Hun Sen last week ordered Cambodian soldiers to mobilise to the border with Laos and gave the intruders six days to withdraw. He met the Laos prime minister the following day.
After negotiations between Mr Hun Sen and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on Saturday, the Lao invaders withdrew the following day.
“We will also place a navy station in Stung Treng province,” Mr Hun Sen added yesterday.
“All preparations are not aimed for war with neighbouring countries, but for national defence, to protect our citizens.”
According to Global Fire Power, Cambodia’s military in 2017 ranked 89th among133 countries in the world. The rating depends on the population and geography of each country.
The organisation said that Cambodia has nearly 200,000 military personnel, more than 100,000 active personnel and 70,000 reserve personnel.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said it was important to have a strong military.
“The armed forces are the power tools of the Cambodian people with the duty of protecting the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia,” he said.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability Cambodia, said that in the past, there might have been the lack of troops in the area which allowed the Laos army to invade.
“For this brigade creation, it is likely that the prime minister saw a gap and the need to create the brigade in that area to fill it,” Mr Chey said.