Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US ambassador Patrick Murphy (left) shakes hands with Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen on Tuesday. US EMBASSY IN PHNOM PENH

US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

The US on Tuesday pledged to help train military officers, particularly Cambodia’s blue helmet troops deployed for UN’s peacekeeping operations.

The pledge was made during a meeting between US ambassador Patrick Murphy and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen. Further strengthening of the two nations’ relations was also discussed.

In a Facebook post, Pisen said: “[Cambodia] continues to collaborate with the US by exchanging visits and finding the remains of US soldiers who had gone missing in Cambodia.”

The post said Murphy had raised the alleged presence of a secret Chinese naval base on Cambodian soil but added that the US believes this to be a smear campaign meant to destabilise relations between the two countries.

Murphy said: “[We] discussed the necessary steps for expanding security collaboration, including the promotion of human rights and democracy and the protection of Cambodia’s sovereignty from the presence of a foreign military base.”

Regarding this issue, Pisen reiterated that the Kingdom’s Constitution did not authorise any foreign military base in its territory, nor does it allow the presence of its military abroad, except within the framework of a UN request.

On July 21, the Wall Street Journal published a report alleging a secret agreement between China and Cambodia for the installation of a Chinese naval base in the province of Preah Sihanouk.

The Cambodian government had denied the allegations several times, even allowing national and international journalists to visit the suspected site.

The post also announced that both sides had discussed a bilateral collaboration that would mutually benefit the parties. The collaboration is said to focus on the search for the remains of missing US soldiers in Cambodia, along with continued efforts in peacekeeping and mine-clearing missions.

RCAF General Command spokesman Thong Solimo confirmed on Wednesday that besides helping train Cambodia’s blue helmet troops, the US will help in other areas of the Kingdom’s military.

“Previously, ties between Cambodia and the US had deteriorated. But they have improved since Murphy’s mandate. The ties became fruitful again thanks to US President Donald Trump.

“The president sent a letter to Samdech [Hun Sen] confirming respect for [Cambodia’s] sovereignty and non-interference in [our] internal affairs,” Solimo said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said that US’s pledge of helping Cambodia’s blue helmet troops would help improve bilateral relations.

“A good beginning is the normalisation of ties between the US and Cambodia. The US has been able to resume its connection with the RCAF, which is important in its geopolitics.

“For its part, Cambodia can allay the US’ pressing concerns over the deterioration of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and over Cambodia’s embrace of China,” he said.

US embassy spokeswoman Emily Zeeberg declined on Wednesday to provide details of the meeting between Murphy and Pisen.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’