National border committee to clarify treaty with Vietnam

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National border committee chairman Var Kim Hong. Post Pix

Upon the request of the Supreme Council for Consultation, Prime Minister Hun Sen has authorised the national committee on border affairs to clarify the recent agreements between Cambodia and Vietnam.

During a state visit to Vietnam last week, Hun Sen and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed the Supplementary Treaty to the 1985 Treaty on the Delimitation of the National Boundary and the 2005 Supplementary Treaty.

The Protocol on the Demarcation and Marker Planting of the Land Boundary between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was also inked.

The 1985 treaty drew criticism from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which accused the government of ceding Cambodian territory to its eastern neighbour.

The Supreme Council for Consultation said national border committee chairman Var Kim Hong and his delegation will clarify the agreements on Thursday at a meeting led by its rotating chair, Kem Rithisith.

“This meeting is very important because it will provide insights into the issue and enable the council to explain to citizens about the latest developments and the government’s efforts in handling border issues peacefully with neighbouring countries,” the council said in a statement.

Chhim Phal Virun, the council’s general secretary, told The Post: “Through this meeting, the government can produce all the documents to the 16 political parties in a transparent manner.”

Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros said clarifying border issues to the public is important as it will help clear doubts over the treaty. Without such clarification, he said, social disorder may follow.

“We want to know about border issues and also wish to engage citizens in investigating border issues. The government, political parties and citizens must work together to protect our territorial integrity. Every stakeholder should know whether or not border measurement is transparent,” he said.

Kim Hong said his committee will produce all documents related to border issues in a transparent manner. He flatly rejected claims that the government had ceded land to Vietnam, saying the accusation was made to gain political advantage.

“We assume full responsibility and do the work with transparency. Neither Cambodia nor Vietnam loses land,” he said.

Sok Touch, the president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia who had previously researched border issues, said he was not aware of what would be brought up during Thursday’s meeting.

“I doubt the Supreme Council for Consultation has enough expertise on border issues to fully understand and clarify it [to the public],” he said.

Cambodia and Vietnam have set up 315 poles, or 84 per cent of a total 371 poles along the 1,245km shared border.

The two countries have not agreed on the remaining 16 per cent of borderline, and have requested France to facilitate in marking the border.

The remaining 56 poles, or 16 per cent, are to be planted in Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Tbong Khmum, Svay Rieng, Kandal, and Takeo provinces.