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Sunday, May 02, 2010

China pledges more military aid to Cambodia+

PHNOM PENH, May 2 (AP) - (Kyodo)—China has pledged military aid to Cambodia worth 100 million yuan ($14 million), a senior government official said Sunday.

Hor Namhong, deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, told reporters upon return from China on Sunday that Chinese President Hu Jintao offered 256 military trucks and 50,000 military uniforms to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, worth 100 million yuan.

He said the pledge was made at a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday while Hun Sen was on a three-day visit to China to attend the opening of the Shanghai World Expo.

Another senior government official who accompanied the premier told Kyodo News the new Chinese aid was "a kind of" complement or replacement for military aid the United States had pledged but later suspended.

The United States had offered about 200 military vehicles and trailers to Cambodia under its Excess Defense Articles program.

But in early April, the U.S. government suspended military aid to Cambodia to protest the Cambodian government's deportation of 20 Uygur refugees to China.

The United States had tried to prevent the deportation but failed.

The refugees arrived in Cambodia via Vietnam and were placed under the protection of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

But Cambodia deported them anyway on the eve of the arrival of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on an official visit in December last year.

Critics say the Cambodian act underlined its growing ties with China, which has provided more aid and, unlike many Western donors, voices no complaints about corruption, democracy or human rights in Cambodia.

Cambodia has stated the deportation was "just implementing its policy and laws as a sovereign state."

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