China presents its “war dog” robots in Cambodia


The Chinese army yesterday demonstrated its robotic fighting “dogs” equipped with machine guns at the start of its largest-ever exercises with Cambodian forces.

More than 2,000 troops, including 760 Chinese military personnel, are taking part in the exercises at a remote training center in the central province of Kampong Chhnang and at sea off the coast of Preah Sihanouk province.

The 15-day exercise, dubbed Golden Dragon, also involves 14 warships – three Chinese – two helicopters and 69 armored vehicles and tanks, and includes live-fire, anti-terrorism and humanitarian rescue exercises.

Photo: AP

The equipment on display included so-called “robodogs” – four-legged, remote-controlled robots with automatic rifles mounted on their backs.

The handlers kept the war dogs on leashes, demonstrating only their walking abilities to journalists and senior officers, not their shooting skills.

Opening the exercises, Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Vong Pisen said they would “strengthen the capabilities” of both armies in the fight against terrorism.

Vong Pisen said Cambodia would never allow a foreign military base to be established on its territory, echoing previous assertions by Cambodian leaders.

After Cambodia dismantled facilities at the Ream naval base near the Cambodian port city of Sihanoukville, built in part with U.S. funding and hosting U.S. military exercises, China began funding its renovation.

Two Chinese warships docked at Ream in December last year for the first time after work began to expand the base.

Washington says Ream could give Beijing a key strategic position in the Gulf of Thailand, near the disputed South China Sea.

Earlier this week, Cambodian army spokesman Thong Solimo told reporters that the exercises were the largest ever and that China would cover the cost.

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