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Cambodia Requests Two Warships From China

QINGDAO, CHINA - APRIL 23: Chinese Navy helicopters and 527 warship attend an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy on April 23, 2009 in Qingdao of Shandong Province, China. (Photo by Guang Niu/Pool/Getty Images)

A spokesman for the Cambodian navy said the request from Cambodia for Chinese warships was more like a wish list.

Cambodia’s navy has requested two warships from China, a defense official says. Tea Vinh, the admiral of the Cambodian navy, met this week with Chinese Rear Admiral Yu Manjian, following maritime rescue drills conducted between Cambodian and Chinese naval forces that ended Wednesday.

Three Chinese ships, included two frigates armed with guided missiles and a supply ship, have been docked on display at the port of Sihanoukville, during the exercises.

Tea Vinh said in a statement later Cambodia had requested two modern warships to help Cambodia defend its maritime territory. “When I went to inspect them, the ships are very good,” he said.

Meas Tang, a spokesman for the Cambodian navy, said the request from Cambodia for Chinese warships was more like a wish list. It is unclear whether China would accept such a request.

Tea Vinh said he did not discuss the South China Sea tensions with Yu during their meeting. He maintains the same stance with ASEAN naval leaders, including those in disputes with China, he said. “I say this should be resolved amongst themselves peacefully,” he said.

Tea Vinh also affirmed Cambodia’s one-China policy, which does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state.

The maritime drills this week signal more military cooperation between Cambodia and China. They mostly consisted of rescue and fire drills.

The arrival of the display ships, which were open to the public Thursday, come amid news that China has continued to build up infrastructure amid disputed islands in the South China Sea, and just after ASEAN leaders met with US President Barack Obama in talks that included the contentious sea issue.