Construction began Tuesday on an 18-hole golf course straddling the Cambodia-Vietnam border, a project intended to improve bilateral cooperation and bolster the area’s economy, officials said Wednesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng and Vietnamese provincial officials presided over the groundbreaking ceremony in Chan Trea district’s Bavet commune, along Svay Rieng province’s border with Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province, Svay Rieng Provincial Governor Chien Am said.
Spanning 60 hectares in Cambodia and 120 hectares in Vietnam, the development will also include a five-star hotel, business center, cultural village and other businesses, Chien Am said. The $100 million project, which is being backed by Malaysia’s CVI Resort Co Ltd, is expected to be completed within five years.
Prime Minister Hun Sen gave the green light for the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Golf Course after meeting with a Vietnamese delegation in March. Chien Am said he expected the development would create some 10,000 jobs in the area through direct employment and increased economic activity. “With jobs in place, we hope to stop people migrating from Svay Rieng, Prey Veng to find jobs in Phnom Penh,” he said.
Chien Am added that both countries would have immigration offices and border police near the course, which will have nine holes in each country. Golfers crossing the border from one country to the other will be required to have appropriate visas, Chien Am said. But, he joked, “when the golf ball flies over the border, it won’t need a visa.”
Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak praised the concept as a means of expanding bilateral cooperation. “A shared border golf course is a type of peaceful and development-based cooperation of two nations,” he said. Khieu Sopheak added that he did not anticipate that the golf course would result in border problems, though he emphasized the importance of proper visa arrangements.
Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said the golf course would not compromise the border between Cambodia and Vietnam.
“It does not mean a merging of boundaries. We have a pond as a border marker,” he said Wednesday. Khieu Kanharith added that another border golf course was being planned for the Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos triangle and said the government was willing to cooperate on a similar project at the Cambodia-Thai border.
Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam agreed that the golf course would stimulate economic development in the rural area and generate jobs through tourism.