Reported as Cambodia Ups Navy Patrols to Protect Oil:
Cambodia is boosting its navy to help protect newly discovered offshore oil fields that could prove lucrative for the impoverished country, officials said Friday.
As part of the plan, the government recently transferred a brigade of soldiers from the army to the navy, said Yim Sovann, an opposition party lawmaker who heads a parliamentary committee on defense and the interior.
The transferred soldiers are now undergoing training in naval skills, he said.
The move "responds to the routine need to protect maritime borders and, more especially, the offshore oil fields being explored in Cambodia," said Yim Sovann, a lawmaker from the Sam Rainsy Party.
Defense Minister Tea Banh also said that naval expansion is under way but declined to give any details.
"It is our duty to provide safety for companies doing business in our country," he said.
"You do not wait until problems have already occurred to go out and provide defense," he said. "That is not called defense. It has to be thought out in advance."
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