Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 10 wryly thanked the US for its decision to halt the sale of weapons and military equipment to Cambodia, and ordered all units of the armed forces to shelve all US-made arms and military hardware in warehouses, or to destroy them.
Hun Sen’s remark comes two days after the US imposed an arms embargo on the Kingdom for, inter alia, what they alleged was the “growing influence of China's military in Cambodia”.
In a Facebook post with a photo of himself shaking hands with former US President Donald Trump, the prime minister said: “I take this opportunity to thank the US for its decision to ban the sale of weapons and military equipment to Cambodia.
“This demonstrates the legitimacy of the decision I made in 1994 when I elected not to change our weapons system to a US model.
“I’ve also issued an order to all units of the armed forces to immediately review the weapons and military equipment that Cambodia currently has, and to take all US-made hardware, if any, into storage or simply smash them,” he said.
Mocking US arms, Hun Sen quipped that groups resorting to using US weapons tend to lose wars, pointing to the Lon Nol regime in the early 1970s, which imported and used loads of weapons from the US.
Their imports only brought debt to the Kingdom, which continues to this day, he said.
“Even recently, the losers of the war in Afghanistan had used US weapons. I have trust in our troops’ courage, their spirit and will to fight on the battlefront to protect territorial sovereignty, rather than on weapons alone,” the prime minister said.
Hun Sen underlined that this message is also a warning for the next generation of Cambodian leaders not to use US weapons should they want the defence industry to remain independent.