Banh inks Sino-Cambodia military deal on China trip

World
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Minister of National Defence Tea Banh and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe signed a mutual cooperation agreement on Sunday in which the armies of both countries will raise the scale of their joint military exercises.

The agreement also calls for boosting the effectiveness of human resource development and strengthening collaboration on the regional and international levels.

“China and Cambodia are intimate friends. Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, bilateral relations between our countries have reached the highest level in history.

“China will continue to provide assistance and support to develop Cambodia’s defence sector,” Wei said.

The signing came as Banh led a delegation of high-ranking military officials to join the 7th Military World Games sports competition in Wuhan, Hubei province. During the five-day visit, Banh and Wei will also discuss security issues in the region to promote peace.

The Cambodian delegation includes Nem Sowath, a special adviser and director-general of the General Department of Politics and Foreign Affairs; Chao Phirun, the director-general of the General Department of Technical Logistics; and Hun Manith, the director-general of the General Directorate of Intelligence at the Ministry of National Defence.

Banh said the global combatant sports event had played an important role in promoting peace and stability he said, was an open forum that provides an opportunity for all armies in the world to communicate and understand each other better.

In his meeting with Wei, Banh said relations between the people and armies of both countries, which he said had been built and maintained for generations, had grown stronger under Hun Sen’s leadership.

“The Cambodian and Chinese armies have exchanged visits, increased the level of joint exercises, boosted the effectiveness of human resources development and collaboration on the regional and international levels to further strengthen relations between our two armies,” he said.

Banh also congratulated China on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the success of the 2019 Military World Games held in Wuhan this year.

Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the visit is part of efforts to further strengthen collaboration and relations between the defence sectors of both countries.

“Cambodian-Chinese relations have been robust and have reached an unprecedented level. The top leadership of the two countries are committed to maintaining relations. The two countries will continue to support each other,” he said.

Phea said while maintaining good relations with China, the Kingdom also remains open to strengthening ties with other countries as well.

“Good relations between Cambodia and China will not affect the ties and collaboration with the US or others,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the strengthening of relations between Cambodia and China should not come as a surprise as China sees the Cambodian army as one of its strongest allies.

“The force can secure its strategic interests in Cambodia and in the region,” he said.

During the visit, Banh also paid a courtesy call on Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also the secretary-general of the Communist Party of China and chairman of the central military committee.

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