Three ships from China’s South Sea Fleet arrived in Sihanoukville on Monday ahead of scheduled training exercises with the Cambodian navy in the Gulf of Thailand this week, just days after a goodwill visit by a trio of Japanese vessels.
The Chinese ships—two guided-missile frigates and a supply vessel—docked at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port and will host the training on Wednesday and Thursday before departing on Friday, according to Meas Thang, spokesman for the Royal Cambodian Navy.
“The training will begin the day after tomorrow, training on how to rescue people in the water, techniques for controlling a ship, and how to read maps,” he said on Monday.
Seng Bunleng, immigration police chief at the Preah Sihanouk port, said the three Chinese ships were manned by over 700 sailors under the command of General Yu Manjiang and arrived around 10 a.m.
In an interview earlier this month, Carlyle Thayer, emeritus professor at the Australian Defense Forces Academy, described the visits by the navies of China and Japan—which are feuding over a string of islands in the East China Sea—as a “courtship” with Cambodia.