Cambodia breaks ground on China-aided military police shooting range

Cambodian and Chinese officials attend a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a military police shooting range in Kampong Chhnang province, Cambodia, Dec. 17, 2021. Cambodia on Friday broke ground on the China-aided shooting range at the Royal Gendarmerie Training Center here. (Vechakrosa/Cambodia's Defense Ministry/Handout via Xinhua)

KAMPONG CHHNANG, Cambodia, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Friday broke ground on a China-aided shooting range at the Royal Gendarmerie Training Center here.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh and Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian presided over the ground-breaking ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of military personnel.

Speaking at the event, Banh said China's assistance is essential for capacity building of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF). According to him, the shooting range will serve as the venue for the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Armies Rifle Meet in 2023 and a training field for the kingdom's military police.

"The military cooperation between our two armies has been deep-rooted, based on the principle of mutual trust, understanding, respect and interest," he said.

He added that about two years of combating COVID-19 jointly has injected new impetus into cooperation between the two armies.

Wang said the relations between the two militaries have reached a new high in recent years as they have maintained strategic communication, conducted in-depth anti-pandemic cooperation, and efficiently promoted practical exchanges.

He is confident that the shooting range will play an important role in promoting friendship among ASEAN armies when Cambodia hosts the ASEAN Armies Rifle Meet in 2023.

Meanwhile, Wang stressed that China and Cambodia jointly combating COVID-19 has helped bring the ties between the two armies closer.

According to RCAF's deputy commander-in-chief Gen. Sao Sokha, who is also commander of Cambodia's military police, the shooting range will be built on a parcel of 105 hectares in the Royal Gendarmerie Training Center, about 94 kilometers north of capital Phnom Penh.

"This project will significantly contribute to strengthening the national defense sector and the capacities of our military police," he said.

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