China, Cambodia Advance Joint Land and Naval Exercises

China, Cambodia Advance Joint Land and Naval Exercises

The China-Cambodia Golden Dragon-2024 joint military exercise is proceeding smoothly, with Cambodian troops gaining hands-on experience with some of China’s latest weapons and equipment. The drills highlight the high level of mutual trust between the two militaries, experts say.

Over the weekend, the exercise entered its adaptation phase where participating forces conducted skills exchanges and integrated training. Chinese soldiers guided their Cambodian counterparts on operating the QBU-191 precision rifle, China’s latest sniper system.

“Exchanges over some of the latest weapons and equipment showed a high level of military mutual trust between China and Cambodia,” a Chinese military expert told the Global Times. “In potential joint operations, being able to operate each other’s weaponry enhances interoperability.”

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The two sides also collaborated on unmanned systems operations, medical training, and cultural activities to boost friendship. Over 2,000 personnel from both nations are taking part, with China deploying over 500 vehicles, vessels and weapons systems.

Building Interoperability

Under the theme of “joint counter-terrorism and humanitarian relief operations”, the triple-phase exercise focuses on urban hostage rescue, mountain camp clearance and maritime anti-piracy drills.

“The drills aim at non-traditional security threats like terrorism, piracy and natural disasters faced by both nations,” said another Chinese analyst. “The exercise enhances understanding and deepens the China-Cambodia security partnership.”

The joint training is not targeted at any third party, experts stressed, and contributes to regional peace and stability. However, it coincides with provocations by the Philippines against Chinese islands in the South China Sea.

Expanding Security Cooperation

The Golden Dragon drills continue China’s efforts to deepen defense ties with Cambodia, a key partner under Beijing’s Indo Pacific strategy. China has provided military aid and construction to modernize Cambodia’s forces.

Hosting major exercises builds interoperability and paves the way for potential deeper cooperation like military base access in the future. It allows Cambodia’s military to train on some of China’s most advanced equipment.

For China’s part, the drills prepare the People’s Liberation Army for potential regional contingencies requiring international coordination. Overall, the exercises are a mutually beneficial endeavor enhancing security cooperation between Beijing and Phnom Penh.

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