Sunday, 12 October 2008

US Navy destroyer takes port call - in Cambodia

Sihanoukville, Cambodia (dpa) - A US destroyer arrived in the southern Cambodia deepwater port of Sihanoukville on Saturday for a five-day visit aimed at strengthening bilateral ties.

The 155-metre USS Mustin (DDG-89), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, arrived with its crew of nearly 300 to embark on a goodwill mission, which will include free dental clinics, repairs of local schools and hospitals and other humanitarian work.

The crew will also conduct training programs with the Cambodian naval personnel. There will also be demonstration operations, including one on disaster rescue.

Sihanoukville is about 240 kilometres from the capital, Phnom Penh.

"This is an example of the commitment of the US and Cambodian navies to good relations in the region, and is a commitment by the US towards strengthening regional security," Captain Charles William said at a welcoming ceremony.

This is the third visit of a US naval vessel to Cambodia in recent years after visits were suspended from the 1970s when the Khmer Rouge took power.

Officials said the free dental clinic will operate out of a local Buddhist pagoda from Sunday. The visit is scheduled to end Wednesday.

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