At an annual meeting on border issues yesterday, Cambodian and Vietnamese officials reiterated that they would cooperate to solve land disputes and encourage development in the provinces along the border between the two countries.
There have been 39 border land disputes in the past year, National Police chief Neth Savoeun told about 100 assembled officials at the meeting, adding that police have already managed to resolve 36 of those disputes.
“There are 36 out of 39 border dispute cases [already resolved] through the cooperation of the two nations’ forces and there are three more cases still remaining to be solved,” Mr Savoeun said.
“When there is a dispute along the border, we always cooperate to solve [it] together to make the Cambodia-Vietnam border more developed and secure.”
In perhaps the most prominent border land dispute of the past year, a group of farmers in Svay Rieng province claimed that border posts had been incorrectly laid through their farmland, leading to a protest in which opposition leader Sam Rainsy removed six temporary markers. Mr Rainsy was sentenced for the incident to two years in jail for racial incitement and destruction of property. An Appeal Court hearing in his case is scheduled for Aug 9.
Demarcation of the border began in 2008, and Cambodian Border Commission Chairman Var Kimhong said last year that all 314 border posts would be in place by 2012.
Mr Savoeun also said at yesterday’s meeting that 281 illegal Vietnamese migrants had been deported from Cambodia in the past year, while 236 Cambodian migrants have been deported from Vietnam. Authorities have uncovered three suspected cross-border human trafficking rings this year and made an arrest in one of these cases, he added.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng called the gathering an important “mechanism for cooperation,” saying it had yielded “great results in cooperation and development” since the first border meeting in 2005.
“Public security along the border has been strengthened by both nation’s forces and authorities’ cooperation with each other to crack down on criminals in time to make our two nations safe and secure,” Mr Kheng added.