Cambodia buys 94 tanks, APCs from E. European sellers [-Arm race against Thailand?]

blogspot.com 15-Sep-2010

 

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T-55 tank

PHNOM PENH, Sep. 15, 2010 (Kyodo News International) -- Cambodia has purchased 94 tanks and armored personnel carriers from Eastern Europe sellers to strengthen its military capacity, a senior military official told Kyodo News on Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the tanks and APCs, along with several heavy military trucks, will arrive this weekend at Cambodia's coastal Sihanoukville Province about 230 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh.

According to the official, of the 94 vehicles, 50 are T55 tanks and the other 40 are PTR26 APCs.

But the official refused to reveal the countries where the military vehicles were bought and nor their cost.

Other military sources suggested Cambodia decided to buy the equipment from Eastern Europe because many Cambodian military personnel were trained in Eastern Europe, especially in the then Soviet Union or countries that were once part of the Soviet Union.

When asked about the purchase new military equipment, Lt. Gen. Chhum Socheat, a spokesman for Cambodia's National Defense Ministry, said he had not been informed of new equipment, but added that was not surprising.

He said many countries are buying new military hardware and strengthening their military capabilities for ''their own homeland security as well as for the common fight against terrorism.''

The report of the new military equipment coincides with a visit to China by Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh.

According to Chhum Socheat, the minister left for China on Tuesday and will stay there for a week during which he will visit some factories producing military hardware.