Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked the U.N. on Sunday for providing maps that he said prove that the government had upheld the law in its work demarcating the country’s border with Vietnam.
Facing a campaign by the opposition CNRP to reveal Vietnamese incursions into Cambodian territory, Mr. Hun Sen has sought to counter claims that the government has been complicit in such violations. On Friday, he announced that individuals and organizations that accuse the government of using the wrong border maps would face arrest.
His letter to the U.N. was sent three days after the acting president of the U.N.’s Dag Hammarskjold Library delivered the maps to Phnom Penh, taking part in a ceremony in which the government determined that they were the same as those it had been using.
“This result truly and clearly proves the government’s highest thoroughness and responsibility in organizing and implementing its work in determining and planting border markers between the Kingdom of Cambodia and neighboring countries,” Mr. Hun Sen wrote.
He said the U.N. maps would “put an end to irresponsible incitement and violations of the law,” which are meant to “cause a national split as well as cause confusion among national and international opinions for political exploitation by a number of circles in Cambodia.”
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said Monday that although the maps from the U.N. were not the Bonne maps—drawn by France between 1933 and 1953 and designated by the Constitution for use in official border demarcation—the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) maps brought instead were drawn to the same scale. The UTM maps were deposited at the U.N. by then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk as part of a complaint about U.S. bombings in 1964.
“Though we are not able to verify directly with the Bonne maps…we consider the 18 UTM maps as official maps, too,” Mr. Eysan said.
The U.N. informed the government earlier this month that it had been unable to find the Bonne maps, which were also deposited at the U.N. by Prince Sihanouk.
CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An, who has been at the fore of the party’s border campaign, said in an email on Friday that the maps delivered by the U.N. last week were inconclusive.
“I think the government should find the correct maps to verify first before making a conclusion about whether or not the maps used by the government today are correct,” he said.