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NEWS | June 4, 2024

Austin Discusses Range of Important Issues With Cambodian Leaders

By David Vergun, U.S. Department of Defense

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III today traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he met with Prime Minister Hun Manet; Defense Minister Tea Seiha; and Hun Sen, president of the senate.

In their meetings, the officials discussed opportunities to strengthen the U.S.-Cambodia defense relationship in support of regional peace and security, including through the resumption of military training exchanges on disaster assistance and United Nations peacekeeping, training and exchanges on unexploded ordnance clearance, and Cambodia's access to U.S. professional military education programs, said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, who is traveling with the secretary.

They also welcomed continued discussions about these issues between their respective defense establishments, and Austin engaged with Cambodian alumni of U.S. professional military education programs, as well as cadets from the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy visiting Cambodia for educational opportunities, Ryder said.

"The secretary often talks about the importance of meeting face-to-face, especially in this part of the world. That was true again today as he engaged Cambodia's new leadership. And these were candid, concrete discussions," said a senior defense official traveling with the secretary.

"This kind of engagement matters for the future. Cambodia is a young country in a young region. Our defense relationship has a lot of potential and room for growth. That's why it's so important to stay engaged here," the official said.

"We're encouraged about the possibility of resuming our military training and exchanges, including on humanitarian assistance, de-mining and unexploded ordnance clearance, and U.N. peacekeeping. There's a lot our two countries can do together," the official said.

Austin's second trip to Cambodia follows his November 2022 trip here for the 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

 

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