July 12, 2017
(as prepared for delivery)
Admiral Tea Vinh and other distinguished members of the National Committee for Maritime Security, good morning and thank you so much for inviting me again today to the beautiful coastal waters of Ream Naval Base. I last visited here in October 2016 for the opening ceremony of the CARAT exercise, which was my third time participating in that event. I have been here to dedicate English language laboratories and health clinic facilities. Each time I come here, I am heartened by the affinity and close maritime relationship between our two countries. Maritime security is an issue that challenges all of us in this increasingly globalized world and it is my hope that the new boathouse we are handing over today will assist Cambodia in its efforts to contribute to this international effort.
To support Cambodia’s maritime security efforts, the United States provided rigid-hull inflatable boats that will be housed within this boathouse. By protecting these boats from the elements, we hope they can continue to showcase their utility in rescuing capsized fishing boats, watching over passenger vessels for the safety of those on board, and patrolling Cambodian waters for illegal activities and contraband. The dedication of this boathouse, while only a small contributing factor in your overall maritime security effort, marks a commitment by the United States to work together to provide the tools necessary for NCMS to accomplish your organization’s mission for the benefit of your fellow Cambodians, your Southeast Asian neighbors, and members of the global community who depend on one another to oversee the world’s waters in a manner that best preserves livelihoods and welfare. We want to devote resources like these to be your partner and friend, for this generation and the generations to come.
Our Embassy Defense Attaché, Colonel Michael Stelzig, told me that the recent exercise sponsored by NCMS in March was an impressive event that highlighted NCMS’s growing ability to train and execute increasingly complex operations. We hope you are able to continue to grow and expand this exercise and, perhaps sometime in the future, we can make this a multi-lateral event.