PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): Prime Minister Hun Sen encouraged the Cambodian-Singaporean armed forces to continue their close cooperation and share experiences, intelligence and training.
The premier met with Major General David Neo, commander of the Singapore Army, on February 28 at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh.
According to Hun Sen’s social media post, Neo expressed his satisfaction with the relations and cooperation between the two countries, especially between the two armies.
“[Hun Sen] placed a high value on the cooperation between the two armies and encouraged them to continue to work closely,” said the post.
At the Feb 28 meeting, Lau Peet Meng, head of the Security and Intelligence Division of Singapore, asked the prime minister to promote cooperation between the two states.
Hun Sen also asked Singapore to improve connectivity, especially by air, and to encourage tourists who visit Singapore to extend their trips to Cambodia. He also suggested boosting cooperation in the field of education and cooperation in the provision of health services.
Lau congratulated the prime minister on successfully chairing the Asean Summit and related meetings last year, especially at a time when the world was facing the Covid-19 pandemic, and amid the ongoing Myanmar crisis, Russia-Ukraine conflict and tense relations in the South China Sea.
“Lau added that Hun Sen not only successfully led Asean, but also contributed to peace in the region and the world,” the social media post said.
Hun Sen emphasised that the success of the Asean Summit and related meetings was due to the participation of all stakeholders, and he thanked Singapore for its part in making the summits a success.
On Feb 27, Neo also met with Hun Manet, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and commander of the Royal Cambodian Army, to discuss future cooperation.
Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, told The Post on Feb 28 that building and expanding military cooperation with other countries is important to build the capacity of the Cambodian army.
He said that as small nations in the region, Cambodia and Singapore should assist one another. In particular, the Kingdom needs Singapore to provide training and modern military equipment for national and regional security missions.
“I think Cambodia welcomes the establishment and expansion of defence cooperation with friendly countries, as it can use these relationships to build its own military capacity through their assistance. Cambodian armed forces are pursuing a policy of modernisation in response to any threats to Cambodia’s territorial integrity, as well as national and regional security,” he said.