China will equip Cambodia’s military with advanced telecommunications equipment, Defense Minister Tea Banh announced yesterday following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan.
General Banh also said that Cambodia now has an operational Chinese-funded air defense system composed of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.
Speaking after a signing ceremony with General Chang at the Ministry of Defense in Phnom Penh, Gen. Banh said the telecommunications and radio equipment from China would “gradually come” to Cambodia.
“Just now, we have signed additional agreements on telecommunication to improve communication in the military sector so we can control situations at all command headquarters,” Gen. Banh said.
Asked by a reporter whether Cambodia had received an air defense system from China, Gen. Banh confirmed that it had, but said better equipment was needed.
“We are not yet satisfied. It is not enough, so we need more to be highly effective so that defense can be long range and not only shoulder-fired surface [missiles],” Gen. Banh said.
“We are reaching for better, additional equipment that can fire long-range so that even the fast ones [fighter jets] cannot escape,” he added.
Gen. Banh did not say whether there were any plans to receive better equipment, or say how much the telecommunications and air defense equipment donated by China were worth.
In a report on the meeting, state news agency AKP said only that China was “a main donor for Cambodia in terms of military assistance.”
Following his meeting with the defense minister, Gen. Chang met with Prime Minister Hun Sen at his office building in Phnom Penh.
Eang Sophalleth, a personal assistant to Mr. Hun Sen, told reporters after the meeting that Gen. Chang had reassured the prime minister that “China always supports the Cambodian government.”
Mr. Hun Sen and Gen. Chang agreed to “strengthen relations between both countries and advance cooperation in all sectors,” according to Mr. Sophalleth.