Upgraded Military is No Threat: PM

Prime Minister Hun Manet, in his general’s uniform, inspects the military formation at the army's headquaters on Jan. 24. Photo: Sem Vanna

PHNOM PENH – The Royal Cambodian Army marked its 25th anniversary on Jan. 24 with a parade and display of military equipment while Prime Minister Hun Manet defended its upgraded capability to respond to challenges and foster military cooperation.

Addressing the event at the army headquarters, Hun Manet, in his general’s uniform, touched on the issue of Ream Naval base and the enhancing of military strength.

“Cambodia has no ambition to invade anyone,” he said.

“Cambodia strengthens its defense capabilities within its rights like all countries in the world. No country has a law prohibiting the modernization of own defense.”

He said the army is being strengthened to participate in maintaining peace and stability in the country and in the region in case of any situation such as terrorism or crime which requires Cambodia’s participation.

The PM also pointed to the need to enhance the army so that its capability is on par with other countries’ armies, particularly when it goes on missions under the UN umbrella. 

“If we do not upgrade our capability, we cannot integrate with other forces. They won’t call us to join if we’re to be a burden,” he said.

Hun Manet reiterated that Cambodia won’t host foreign troop or build a base on foreign soil unless it is under a UN mission, referring to Article 53 of the Constitution.

He said that despite repeated explanations from Cambodia on various occasions, the allegations related to Ream Base have gone nowhere. 

“I want to reiterate that the capacity-building of the Cambodian Army, Navy and Air Force is only for the defense of the nation,” he said.

The event featured soldiers parading on the headquarters ground and the show of military weapons including multi-role vehicles, anti-aircraft machines, artillery and the truck-mounted self-propelled PHL-03 Multiple Launch Rocket System.

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