Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan called a press conference Wednesday to defend the arrest and imprisonment of opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour, accusing the 59-year-old of presenting a doctored diplomatic treaty on Facebook in an effort to spark a “color revolution.”
Mr. Sok Hour was charged and imprisoned for forgery and incitement on Sunday after Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly ordered him to be arrested over a video posted to Facebook in which he discussed a doctored 1979 treaty promising to dissolve the border with Vietnam.
“The making of a fake national document dissolving the border line to turn two nations into one—this, in Cambodia, is treason because this is a national security issue,” Mr. Siphan said at the press conference at the Council of Ministers building in Phnom Penh.
“It is incitement to forge public documents and create clear language that the Cambodian and Vietnamese sides are willing and agree to dissolve the border. There are two dangers: firstly, people will get angry and rebel,” he said.
“Then they will hold demonstrations and public movements along the streets to make a color revolution.”
Mr. Siphan said the CNRP had a history of trying to overthrow the government and that the doctored treaty and recent campaign against Vietnamese border violations were only an extension of the party’s postelection demonstrations that were violently subdued in January 2014.
“They tried to make a color revolution against our national security. They went to occupy Freedom Park to make an insurrection,” he said. “This was a subversive campaign, therefore we had to end that work, and now they continue to use the border issue to fight against the government.”
Mr. Siphan also rejected opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s claim on Monday that the Vietnamese border is a “sensitive” issue for the government.
“This is not a sensitive issue but we are working hard to show the reality to our people, that the ones who accuse us are liars and that they do not take responsibility and that they run away from the country,” he said.
Mr. Rainsy, who spent almost four years in exile in France before the 2013 election, left Cambodia on Tuesday to join his deputy, Kem Sokha, on a tour to meet supporters in Australia, three days after returning from a trip to Europe and the U.S.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann rejected Mr. Siphan’s claims that Mr. Sok Hour had hoped to spark a “color revolution,” and said the ruling and opposition parties should work together to solve problems on the Vietnamese border.
“What we have done so far has been in the framework in the democracy,” Mr. Sovann said. “We abide by democratic principles.”
“We should not be fighting among ourselves. The border issue is very important, it is a life and death issue for the country,” he added.
(Additional reporting by Alex Willemyns)