Cambodia Steps Back from Mil-to-Mil Exchanges for Now

In the aftermath of its still-disputed national elections, Cambodia has “postponed or canceled” a number of cooperative military initiatives with the United States and other countries, according to the State Department. Briefing reporters on Aug. 12, Marie Harf, the State Department’s deputy spokeswoman, characterized the Cambodian action as “a suspension or cancelation of some specific programs.” She added, “We would not categorize the cancelation of programs as a suspension of military ties. We haven’t indicated that we would suspend military ties.” Cambodian Lt. Gen. Nem Sowath, the head of political and foreign policy for the Cambodian defense ministry, on Tuesday disputed the claim that Cambodia had unilaterally suspended cooperation, reported the Associated Press (via The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash.) Instead, he said the cancelations were by mutual agreement because Cambodia was not yet prepared for them. Some congressional voices have suggested scaling back ties with Cambodia if the results of the county’s July 28 election turn out to be less than fair. In June, the Air Force participated in the multinational Pacific Airlift Rally exercise in Cambodia. (Harf transcript)