China gives 257 military trucks to Cambodia

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China stepped in Wednesday to provide Cambodia with more than 250 military vehicles after the United States earlier suspended a similar shipment when the Cambodian government deported 20 asylum seekers.

Washington announced in April that it had suspended a military aid program that included the supply of 200 vehicles in response to Cambodia's deportation of 20 Uighurs who had fled ethnic violence last year in China's far west. China accused the Uighurs of involvement in the violence.

The 257 Chinese vehicles, including 200 transport trucks, were presented to the Cambodian military in a ceremony on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

"China has helped Cambodia for quite a long time. What Cambodia has requested, China has always provided us whenever it could," said Moeung Samphan, Cambodia's deputy minister of defense.

Chinese President Hu Jintao offered Cambodia the trucks along with 50,000 military uniforms during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen in Shanghai in May. The offer came less than a month after the U.S. cancellation.

China's influence in Cambodia is considerable despite Beijing's strong backing of the former Khmer Rouge government that caused the deaths of some 1.7 million people in the late 1970s.

It has provided millions of dollars in aid to Cambodia over the past decade, agreed to write off debts and granted it tariff-free status for some 400 items.

But Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told journalists Wednesday that Cambodia welcomes aid from other countries as well.

"China has no influence on Cambodia at all. We accept all foreign aid if it is given without conditions," he said.


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