Earlier this month, Vietnam and Cambodia held the latest in a series of frequent joint maritime patrols. The engagement highlighted one aspect of the broader bilateral defense relationship between the two neighboring Southeast Asian states.
As I have observed before in these pages, Vietnam and Cambodia share a defense relationship as part of their wider diplomatic ties, with Vietnam providing Cambodia with military equipment, infrastructure, and training, while both countries have also looked to manage more sensitive areas of the relationship such as outstanding issues over their shared 700-mile long border, illegal fishing, and China’s growing influence in mainland Southeast Asia.
Within that broader defense relationship, one manifestation on the maritime side has been the holding of Vietnam-Cambodia joint patrols, which are usually focused on areas such as search and rescue and communication to build cooperation and trust and improve the level of coordination on joint maritime challenges such as illegal fishing. The last iteration of these patrols, the 57th iteration, were held earlier this year.