In response to the US’ arms embargo, Cambodia on Friday ordered its armed forces to shelve or destroy any weapons and military hardware supplied by Washington.
In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has directed all “units of the armed forces to immediately review the weapons and military equipment that Cambodia currently has, and to take all US-made hardware, if any, into storage or simply destroy them.”
His remarks came just days after Washington imposed an arms embargo on the Southeast Asian nation for allegedly “allowing China to expand its military presence and construct exclusive-use facilities on the Gulf of Thailand.”
“I take this opportunity to thank the US for its decision to ban the sale of weapons and military equipment to Cambodia. This demonstrates the legitimacy of the decision I made in 1994 when I elected not to change our weapons system to a US model,” Hun Sen said.
The Cambodian premier went on to mock Washington by saying that those who use US weapons tend to lose wars.
“Even recently, the losers of the war in Afghanistan used US weapons. I have trust in our troops’ courage, their spirit and will to fight on the battlefront to protect territorial sovereignty, rather than just weapons,” he asserted.
However, the impact of Washington’s embargo and Hun Sen’s threat remains uncertain, as the US is not among the countries supplying weapons to Cambodia.
Cambodia gets just under half of all its arms from China, with other major suppliers being Ukraine, Serbia and the Czech Republic, according to a December 2019 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.