Cambodia has scrapped a long-standing U.S. military development aid program.
The Cambodia notified USA of its decision to postpone indefinitely the mission of the U.S. Navy Mobile Construction Battalion – better known as the Seabees – which has been carrying out community service projects in underserved areas of Cambodia since 2008.
The decision ends a program that has run for nine years.
Earlier this year Cambodia canceled a joint military exercise with the United States, and Prime Minister Hun Sen has lobbied for the U.S. to forgive Cambodia’s $500 million in debts dating back to the 1970s.
The Seabees ran a humanitarian program in Cambodia that included building schools, maternity wards and rural development projects. The projected budget through 2019 was $815,000.
The United States has renewed its demand for Cambodia to repay a war debt of $500m amid President Donald Trump’s push to improve the state budget. Such a demand has met with an outcry from Cambodian political leaders and their people, who have consistently called the debt “dirty” and “blood-stained”.