Two Thousand Service Personnel to Join China Joint Drill 

Closing ceremony of the Cambodia-China "Golden Dragon 2023" joint military exercise is held in Kampong Chhnang province, Cambodia, April 5, 2023. Photo by Ly Lay/Xinhua

PHNOM PENH – Cambodian and Chinese militaries are set to kick off an annual joint drill on counterterrorism and humanitarian aid involving 2000 troops and 14 ships.

However, a military spokesperson said on May 13 that the drill was not aimed at or did not threaten any country. 

The Golden Dragon military exercise 2024 will be held from May 16 to 30 and will be the sixth of its kind, Major General Thong Solimo, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ spokesperson said.

This year’s exercise is bigger than previous years in terms of scope and scale as it is now extended to naval forces, he said. 

The host participants will include 1315 troops from the Army and Navy while the Chinese side consists of 760 personnel from the People’s Liberation Army.

The exercise will take place at Gendarmerie Training Center in Kampong Chhnang province and at sea off Preah Sihanouk province.  

Sixty-nine armored vehicles plus reconnaissance, communication and demining equipment will be operated in the exercise in Kampong Chhnang while 11 Cambodian and three Chinese ships and two helicopters will join the exercise in Preah Sihanouk. 

A Chinese ship Type-071 Qilianshan arrived at Preah Sihanouk Port transporting troops and equipment for the drill, the Defense Ministry said. 

The Chinese military has said that Qilianshan and Qijiguang amphibious craft will participate in the drill in Cambodia and in Timor-Leste.

“The exercises focus on fighting against terrorism and humanitarian work as well as drone operation,” Major General Solimo said, adding that the two armies will exchange experience on strengthening security of both countries and the region.

ASEAN countries had been invited to observe the drill, he said.

“This exercise has no purpose to threaten or affect any country,” he said.

Asked why Cambodia always holds military drills with China, Major General Solimo said Cambodia welcomes joint drills with other countries when there is request. 

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