Phnom Penh (FN), Mar. 23 – Chinese major general Chhin Min Thean, deputy chief of staff of the Southern Region Army of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, said that amidst the changing of global situation, Cambodia-China iron-clad friendship remains constant. The Chinese side pledged to deepen the building of the Cambodia-China community with a shared future in the new era.

On Thursday morning (Mar 23), Cambodian-Chinese Army launched the fifth Golden Dragon Exercise 2023, to be held for 14 days from 23 March to 8 April 2023. The exercise was presided over by Cambodia general Hun Manet, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and commander of the Cambodian army and Chinese major general Chhin Min Thean.

The Golden Dragon 2023 exercise was conducted under the theme "Security Operations in Major Events and Humanitarian Relief of the Armed Forces of Cambodia and China" at the Military Police Training Center in Samaki Meanchey district, Kampong Chhnang province.

The fifth Golden Dragon Exercise was held to exchange experiences and to enhance the capabilities of the Cambodian armed forces, not to intimidate anyone or any country, said RCAF spokesman Thong Solimo, adding that 583 Cambodian troops and 257 Chinese troops participated in this exercise.

"The joint drill aims to connect military cooperation between the two countries in enhancing good relationships, solidarity, friendship, training on knowledge and practices, experience exchange, coordination, and teamwork when working with other nationalities during the joint operation, as well as in responding to non-cultural challenges," Thong Solimo continued.

For his part, Chinese major general Chhin Min Thean said that “the two armies will not only exchange skills in security operations in major military operations but also build mutual understanding on the perspectives and culture, as well as strengthen and expand Cambodia-China traditional friendship. In addition, the exercise will deepen military cooperation."

He also pointed out that this exercise is a result of the building of the Cambodia-China Community with a Shared Future, set by Chinese president Xi Jinping and Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen in February 2023.

According to Chhin Min Thean, the Golden Dragon Exercise has already been successfully conducted four times in 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020. The drills were postponed in 2017 because Cambodia was holding commune/sangkat council elections and conducting a drug crackdown. They were postponed in 2021 and 2022 due to COVID19.