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US, Cambodia To Have Defense Attachés

Cambodia and the US have agreed to establish military attachés in their respective embassies, officials say, in a move that further enhances cooperation between the two countries.

“A military attaché between Cambodia and the US is a very good sign, in order to have better cooperation and confidence in each other, Kouy Koung, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told VOA Khmer.

Mutual defense attachés have not existed between the two since the 1970s.

The agreement was made in January, to strengthen Cambodia’s military capacity to combat crime, such as drug trafficking and production, human trafficking and terrorism, Kouy Koung said.

Cambodian Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh told VOA Khmer by phone that the reemergence of a defense attaché established a relationship “like countries around the world.”

The US has provided equipment and training to Cambodia since 2006, and will assist in the future with equipment, training and courses in English for the military, US Embassy spokesman John Johnson said.

The US gave 31 trucks to the Defense Ministry last year, along with $7 million in military aid.

An opposition lawmaker, Son Chhay, said the addition of defense attaché to the missions of each country would improve Cambodia’s currently “unprofessional” defense force.

Cambodia has also enjoyed improving military relationships with Vietnam and China.