A Change of Guard

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Friday, 27 May 2011

China donates uniforms to [Cambodian] army

Friday, 27 May 2011
Kim Yuthana
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officials inspect boots donated to the Cambodian military by China. China donated 50,000 sets of new uniforms and boots to the Cambodian military at a ceremony held yesterday at the Cambodian Air Force Headquarters in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh Post

China donated 50,000 new uniforms to the Cambodian military yesterday in a move representatives of both countries said was indicative of the two countries’ strong bilateral relationship.

The uniforms are part of a commitment China made last year to donate military supplies including 257 trucks to the Kingdom after the United States, angered by Cambodia’s decision to send 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China in 2009, reneged on a similar offer.

At a ceremony held at Cambodian Air Force Headquarters in Phnom Penh yesterday, Chinese military attaché Zhang Jianlin said the donations would help bolster Cambodia’s military capacity and were a sign of China’s goodwill.

“Cambodia and China are friends and brothers,” he said.

Moeung Samphan, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence, said the donation was the second largest China had provided the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, after the 257 trucks that were donated in June of last year.

“The aid will give RCAF more advanced and modern materials,” he said.

The donation comes as Cambodia and Thailand attend UNESCO-mediated talks in Paris on the preservation of Preah Vihear temple and continued to honour a fragile ceasefire brokered earlier this month that ended vicious fighting along the countries’ shared border that broke out in April.

Carlyle Thayer, a politics professor at the University of New South Wales who specialises in Southeast Asian military affairs, suggested yesterday that the donations constituted a soft gesture by China urging Thailand to exercise more restraint in the contested border areas.

“When China announces that it’s providing these uniforms, that has political implications, but uniforms aren’t going to kill you,” he said. “[China’s] not taking sides, but I think it [still] has a chilling effect on Thailand.”

Zhang Jianlin pledged yesterday to continue to help Cambodia bulit its military capacity in the future.



Anonymous said...

What choice does Cambodia have? Obviously, America and the west won't help Cambodia unless Cambodia start upholding democracy. On the other hand, Cambodia's government system play no bearing in China support of Cambodia, whether military trucks or military boots. China is also playing a huge role in developing and improving Cambodia's economy and infrastructures. Whatever the past between Cambodian and China, Cambodia appear to have no choice but to be closer to China. The choice of Cambodia distancing herself from China is remote. China helping Cambodia is also a political, spychological, and military moves signaling to Thailand to not too be-wildered at a weaker neighbor who was just starting to rehabilitate from a prolong wars and suffering.

Anonymous said...

Dealing with China is ok. Just not Viet who always want Khmer land. China just want to do business in Cambodia. Viet just want khmer land, little by little.

Anonymous said...

How about asking China for modern/high Tech Anti-air Missile defense systems..?