Cambodia wins Chinese military aid

Cambodia wins Chinese military aid

Cambodia wins Chinese military aid

Posted 3 May 2010, 18:28 AEST

Cambodia's foreign minister says China will donate equipment to the country's military.

The announcement comes after the United States cancelled a shipment of military vehicles when Phnom Penh expelled Uighur asylum-seekers at China's request.

Twenty people were expelled last December.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has announced that China will donate more than 250 trucks and 50,000 uniforms to the Cambodian military.

At the time of the expulsions, Washington said Cambodia had failed in its international obligations by sending the Uighurs back to an uncertain fate in China, and it threatened punishment.

Pleased

But where Washington was annoyed, Beijing was clearly pleased.

Within days of the expulsions, China had awarded Cambodia more than $1 billion in economic aid, although both countries denied any link to the Uighur expulsions.

China is a key investor in Cambodia, particularly in infrastructure.

Acceptance of China's latest donation is a less than subtle message that Cambodia is prepared to play off one big power against another.

Minister Hor Namhong says China's President Hu Jintao has promised more military assistance in the future.