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US, Cambodian military officials hopeful of improved relations

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General Vong Pisen (right) and Colonel Marcus Ferrara meet on June 4, 2021. RCAF

US, Cambodian military officials hopeful of improved relations

The Royal Cambodia Armed Force (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen and outgoing US Defense and Army Attache Colonel Marcus Ferrara expressed hopes that Cambodia-US military relations will ‘remain good’.

General Pisen on June 4 met and bid farewell to Colonel Ferrara, who introduced his successor Aries Refugio.

During the meeting, Colonel Ferrara told General Pisen that the friendship between the two countries has been “very good” since his arrival to the Kingdom back in 2017, but expressed concern over a local newspaper that had featured a story linking the US Army to the Ream Naval Base in Prey Nop district’s Ream commune of the coastal Preah Sihanouk province, the RCAF said without identifying the media outlet.

“This made him [Colonel Ferrara] feel that Cambodia-US relations had seemingly changed, but he hoped that in the future, military relations between the two countries would return to be ‘good like before’, through mutual respect and the observance of Prime Minster Hun Sen’s recommendations regarding trust building,” it said.

General Pisen said Cambodia-US relations have been “good” for 71 years since diplomatic relations were formalised, citing examples of US military support for the RCAF such as demining training, maritime security and assistance in the Covid-19 fight.

The Cambodian and US militaries have demonstrated strong cooperation in operations involving the search for missing US soldiers, anti-terrorism, humanitarian activities, military scientific research and the Angkor Sentinel exercises, the general said.

The RCAF added: “General Vong Pisen expressed a strong belief that future Cambodia-US military relations will continue to show good cooperation.”

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