Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Weapons aren’t staying after drill, general says

Weapons aren’t staying after drill, general says

A new military vehicle is taken through its paces during the first Chinese-Cambodian Golden Dragon military exercises in 2016. The Ministry of Defence recently unveiled details for this month's iteration.
A new military vehicle is taken through its paces during the first Chinese-Cambodian Golden Dragon military exercises in 2016. The Ministry of Defence recently unveiled details for this month's iteration. Heng Chivoan

Weapons aren’t staying after drill, general says

General Ith Sarath on Monday revealed more details of the upcoming Golden Dragon military exercise with China, while denying that any weapons or equipment brought to the Kingdom would remain permanently following the drills.

At a press conference, Sarath, a deputy RCAF commander, said the training exercises beginning March 17 would include mine removal and destruction, chemical weapons removal and neutralisation, hostage rescue operations and attacks on terrorist camps.

Helicopters, machine guns, rocket launchers, mortars and armoured personnel carriers will all be used in the live-fire drills hosted by Kampong Speu province’s Brigade 70.

The general also said 574 military officials will participate in the exercise – 216 Chinese soldiers and 307 Cambodian soldiers – an increase from previous estimates.

Sarath declined to comment on the cost of the exercises, but did say China would pay the bulk of it.

“You know that most of the cost will be paid by China,” he said.

Similar trainings were cancelled with the US and Australia in 2017, ostensibly because the government was too busy with the upcoming July elections. A military official, however, confirmed last week it was because of the many “conditions” placed on cooperation by the West.

“Please don’t take these countries to compare to each other,” he continued, warning journalists not to “shame” the armed forces.

Despite this disclaimer, Sarath himself briefly lashed out at the US’s recent decision to cut military aid. “There was no need for the US to suspend it, we suspended with them in 2017, before they did it,” he said.

Sarath also noted the drills with China are a “special” occasion marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties with the regional giant.

Government-affiliated media outlet Bayon TV previously reported that some equipment would stay behind as part of an aid package, a claim substantiated by the deputy commander of Brigade 70 last week, but denied by Sarath on Monday. “If their unit brings it, they come to do exercise with us and after the exercise, they bring it back,” he said.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Tea Banh assured his audience at Phnom Penh’s Defence Ministry that the exercises were “not a threat to other countries or any individual”.

Banh also said the exercise was “more special” than any other year, and would include larger weaponry than previous training events.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement