China to hold second military exercises with Cambodia

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - China will hold its second military exercise with Cambodia in March focusing on counter terrorism, the Cambodian army said on Wednesday, in another sign of the Southeast Asian country strengthening ties with Beijing.

The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces said in a statement the exercise would involve 280 Cambodian and 190 Chinese soldiers, celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

China held the first joint naval drill with Cambodia in 2016, tightening the relationship that could give Beijing a small but strategic foothold in a region being strongly courted by the United States.

Cambodia’s armed forces have benefited greatly from Chinese military training and equipment including jeeps, rocket launchers and helicopters.

Cambodia suspended joint military exercises with the United States last year indefinitely, saying that they were too busy preparing for local elections.

Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Nick Macfie