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South Korean Military Shipment Adds to Arsenal

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, second right, shakes hands with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak after they ended their summit in Phnom Penh, October 2009.

A South Korean shipment of military vehicles and material arrived in the port of Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday, adding to the increased military aid the country has welcomed in the past few years.

The shipment included 100 vehicles, three utility boats, and engineering and medical equipment, military and port officials said.

The equipment came at the request of the Cambodian government, to help bolster its maritime defenses, Chao Phearun, a lieutenant general in charge of equipment for the Ministry of Defense, said.

“This donation is in the interest of security and humanitarian affairs,” he said. The boats would help patrol the seas and the vehicles would be used to help in disasters and emergencies, he said.

“We can use the engineering equipment to build roads, dams and canals to avoid disasters,” he said.

Defense Minister Tea Banh said South Korea had donated the equipment without charge, and officials said the shipment was a reflection of deepening ties with South Korea.

The donation comes as Cambodia's armed forces are growing and as a border standoff with Thailand continues.

Last week, the Council of Ministers approved a $445 million increase in defense spending. In September, Cambodia bought 100 tanks and armored personnel carriers from the Ukraine, adding to several shipments of military equipment received from China.