Defence minister in China for military games, forum

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of National Defence Tea Banh presides over an event on Monday which marked the 25th anniversary of military unit Brigade 70. FRESH NEWS

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh and senior military officials led a military delegation to China on Thursday to participate in the Military World Games and 9th Beijing Xiangshan Forum.

The delegation is on a five-day visit to China to compete in the Military World Games and to hold discussions over regional security issues to promote peace.

A press statement from the Ministry of National Defence said the state visit came at the invitation of Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe.

“The Cambodian delegation will participate in the 7th Military World Games under the theme Strengthening Friendship and Promoting Peace on October 18 in Wuhan city, Hubei province,” the ministry said.

While there, Banh will also discuss important topics related to regional security issues at the Beijing Xiangshan Forum. The minister was invited to give a welcome address at the third round of the meeting with the theme Interests of Small and Medium Countries and Joint Peace.

Additionally, Banh will hold a discussion with his Chinese counterpart on strengthening bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and China.

The minister and ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat could not be reached for comment on the visit to China.

Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute director-general Kin Phea said this visit serves to strengthen and develop bilateral cooperation and strategic partnerships between Cambodia and China on military and national defence.

Phea supported Cambodia’s stand of building strong bilateral ties with China as the country respects Cambodia’s sovereign right to handle its internal political affairs.

In contrast, he said the US did not show its willingness and credibility to strengthen bilateral relations with the Kingdom. Cambodia, he said, had always welcomed other countries to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation.

“Actually, we [Cambodia] can’t afford to be in hostile relations with a powerful country. If any country comes to help us and maintains good cooperation with Cambodia, we are very open to it,” said Phea.

Ou Chanrath, former lawmaker of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), said Banh will probably talk with his Chinese counterpart about issues concerning national defence and politics in Cambodia.

However, he said the good bilateral relations between China and Cambodia could affect the relationship between Cambodia and the US.

“In recent years, Cambodia has always asked China for help, and Cambodia’s economy and politics also depended on China,” claimed Chanrath.