China, Cambodia Kick Off Joint Military Drills to Boost ‘Ironclad’ Partnership

More than 1,300 Cambodian soldiers and over 700 Chinese troops were involved in the 15-day joint drill.The armed forces of Cambodia and China began joint exercises on May 16 involving 2,000 troops and 14 warships, as the two allied nations are seeking to strengthen their “ironclad friendship” and defense cooperation.Maj. Gen. Thong Solimo, spokesperson for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), told reporters that the “Golden Dragon” joint drill “will be even larger than before” and it will run through May 30.More than 1,300 Cambodian soldiers and over 700 Chinese troops, as well as three Chinese and 11 Cambodian warships are participating in the joint drill, he said.“The exercise will feature live ammunition firing, an annual bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and China aimed at exchanging experiences,” Gen. Solimo said at a press briefing, the Khmer Times reported.He said the drill was intended to “enhance the capabilities, use of new weapons with advanced technology, and the combat skills of the army,” and emphasized that it was not aimed at “threatening or harming any countries.”“There will also be helicopters participating during the closing exercise, and three Chinese naval vessels currently docked in Preah Sihanouk province,” the RCAF spokesperson added.Related StoriesThe Chinese military also unveiled its “robodogs” during the joint drill, which were described by local media as four-legged robots equipped with automatic weaponry on their backs.Gen. Solimo said the expenses for the joint exercise were fully covered by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and other foreign nations participating as observers.The Chinese Ministry of National Defense said in a May 6 statement that “joint counter-terrorism operations and humanitarian relief” would be the primary focus of this year’s joint military drill.The drill was aimed at “consolidating the ironclad friendship between the two countries, enhancing the strategic coordination level between the two militaries, and jointly safeguarding regional peace and stability,” the ministry stated.China is Cambodia’s biggest investor and closest political partner, whose assistance largely underpins the Southeast Asian nation’s economy. In February last year, China offered Cambodia a grant package valued at 300 million yuan (about $44 million) to support railway construction.In December 2021, the United States imposed an arms embargo on Cambodia over the Chinese military’s “growing influence,” corruption, and human rights abuses by the Cambodian government.The Pentagon said in a 2021 report that Cambodia demolished two U.S.-funded facilities at its Ream Naval Base after declining Washington’s offer to pay for the renovation of one of the facilities, “which suggests that Cambodia may have instead accepted assistance from the PRC to develop the base,” the report states, referring to the People’s Republic of China.“The PRC has likely considered a number of countries, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan, as locations for PLA facilities,” the report reads.

China, Cambodia Kick Off Joint Military Drills to Boost ‘Ironclad’ Partnership

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More than 1,300 Cambodian soldiers and over 700 Chinese troops were involved in the 15-day joint drill.

The armed forces of Cambodia and China began joint exercises on May 16 involving 2,000 troops and 14 warships, as the two allied nations are seeking to strengthen their “ironclad friendship” and defense cooperation.

Maj. Gen. Thong Solimo, spokesperson for the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF), told reporters that the “Golden Dragon” joint drill “will be even larger than before” and it will run through May 30.

More than 1,300 Cambodian soldiers and over 700 Chinese troops, as well as three Chinese and 11 Cambodian warships are participating in the joint drill, he said.

“The exercise will feature live ammunition firing, an annual bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and China aimed at exchanging experiences,” Gen. Solimo said at a press briefing, the Khmer Times reported.

He said the drill was intended to “enhance the capabilities, use of new weapons with advanced technology, and the combat skills of the army,” and emphasized that it was not aimed at “threatening or harming any countries.”

“There will also be helicopters participating during the closing exercise, and three Chinese naval vessels currently docked in Preah Sihanouk province,” the RCAF spokesperson added.

The Chinese military also unveiled its “robodogs” during the joint drill, which were described by local media as four-legged robots equipped with automatic weaponry on their backs.

Gen. Solimo said the expenses for the joint exercise were fully covered by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and other foreign nations participating as observers.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense said in a May 6 statement that “joint counter-terrorism operations and humanitarian relief” would be the primary focus of this year’s joint military drill.

The drill was aimed at “consolidating the ironclad friendship between the two countries, enhancing the strategic coordination level between the two militaries, and jointly safeguarding regional peace and stability,” the ministry stated.

China is Cambodia’s biggest investor and closest political partner, whose assistance largely underpins the Southeast Asian nation’s economy. In February last year, China offered Cambodia a grant package valued at 300 million yuan (about $44 million) to support railway construction.
In December 2021, the United States imposed an arms embargo on Cambodia over the Chinese military’s “growing influence,” corruption, and human rights abuses by the Cambodian government.
The Pentagon said in a 2021 report that Cambodia demolished two U.S.-funded facilities at its Ream Naval Base after declining Washington’s offer to pay for the renovation of one of the facilities, “which suggests that Cambodia may have instead accepted assistance from the PRC to develop the base,” the report states, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

“The PRC has likely considered a number of countries, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, Angola, and Tajikistan, as locations for PLA facilities,” the report reads.

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