The head of the government’s border commission said Sunday that the government would not be signing any agreements with Vietnam in March, backing away from claims made by Prime Minister Hun Sen in December that the government was ready to adopt a seven-point agreement with Vietnam.
Var Kim Hong, head of the Joint Border Committee, said Sunday that discussion on the border was planned, possibly in March, but that a signing wasn’t necessary because all of the discussions would be centered around an agreement signed in 2000.
The government backed away from finalizing the agreement after King Norodom Sihanouk issued a statement saying he would not sign it, according to an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity.
Specifically, the border agreement addresses technical questions on the border line and crossings between Cambodia and Vietnam in Ratanakkiri province as well as the border at Mondolkiri province, which abuts Vietnam’s Buon Ma Thuot province, Var Kim Hong said.
Topics for the upcoming talks include defining border demarcation in Ratanakkiri and Mondolkiri, as well as some territorial issues in Kandal and Takeo provinces, he said. The issues to be discussed stem from a 2000 border agreement between the two countries, Var Kim Hong said.
“These are the same points. They are nothing new,” he said.
Var Kim Hong said he will also meet with the National Assembly’s foreign affairs commission to clarify the border pacts “when I get permission” from government superiors.
Last week, Princess Norodom Vacheara, chair of the Assembly’s foreign affairs commission, said she sent two invitations to Var Kim Hong to discuss the upcoming meeting and the border agreement. She said the invitations were never responded to.
Var Kim Hong said he was not in his office Sunday and could not provide specifics on the border areas. He said, however, joint Cambodian-Vietnamese teams have been sent to survey some border areas.