King Asks Neighbours to Respect Borders

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 48th anniversary of Cambodia’s independence from France, King Norodom Sihanouk asked neighboring Vietnam, Thailand and Laos Friday to respect the country’s borders.

“We do not want land from them,” the King told reporters at Independence Monument. “But we request them to respect our territory, respect our sovereignty and respect our border demarcation that we had during the 1950s and 1960s.”

In June, the King asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to look into possible border violations by Viet­nam and Thailand. The King made the request after receiving a letter from a border protection organization asking him to intervene.

On Friday, the King told re­porters that the premier and government officials “are working very hard to negotiate with Vietnam, Thailand and Laos” over border disputes. He noted that there has been “no specific result” yet.

Cambodian officials have met several times with both Thai and Vietnamese officials regarding the easily breached borders.

Thailand and Cambodia signed an agreement in July to share information on border violations and crackdown on criminal activity such as smuggling and illegal immigration.

Two high-ranking Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have been in Bangkok since Tuesday discussing an incident at the Thai-Cambodian border in which Cam­­bodians illegally entering Thailand accused Thai border police of shooting one of their party.

Friday’s ceremony was attended by Hun Sen, National Assem­bly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Senate President Chea Sim and foreign diplomats. About 2,000 flag-waving students  enthusiastically greeted the King.

“Our independence is very strong and everyone has a strong love of the country,” said the healthy-looking King. “I am very proud that our nation has united together….Now we have peace and stability.”


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