In Letter to Lawmakers, PM Says Border Work on Track

Responding to 12 opposition lawmakers who issued a letter asking the government to bring a case against Vietnam to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its alleged border incursions, Prime Minister Hun Sen this week said his administration was already doing fine demarcating its eastern frontier.

In a letter delivered to National Assembly President Heng Samrin on Monday, Mr. Hun Sen does not directly address the request for an international court case, but assures the lawmakers that the government is protecting Cambodian territory in its ongoing negotiations with Vietnam over the shared borderline.

“The government considers the matter of the border to be a very important issue and the nation’s life,” said the letter, which noted that some people have been using the border issue for “political gain.”

“The government’s undaunted commitment in building Cambodia’s border with Vietnam as a sovereign state that is an equal counterpart,” the letter said, “has been overlooked or pretended not to be seen by some quarters.”

Mr. Hun Sen said in the letter that the government’s border affairs committee and the Foreign Affairs Ministry would “continue negotiating peacefully to find proper and fair solutions.”

Over the past two months, the opposition CNRP has led a campaign to discredit the government’s work demarcating Cambodia’s border with Vietnam, calling for a copy of the map being used in negotiations to be made public and taking trips to areas they believe have been improperly ceded to Vietnam.

Un Sam An, who is among the lawmakers leading the campaign, said he would ask CNRP President Sam Rainsy to continue agitating for the government to bring the border issue before the World Court, as it did when a dispute arose with Thailand over Preah Vihear temple.

“We want the government to have the same position toward Thailand and Vietnam over border issues,” he said. “I will ask CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, in his position as minority leader, to talk to the prime minister, lobbying him to take the case to the ICJ.”

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