The country’s second most senior border affairs official on Sunday warned against oversimplifying territorial disputes after opposition leader Sam Rainsy claimed that Vietnam has flagrantly annexed land on Cambodia’s side of a demarcated border area in Svay Rieng province.
On Saturday, Mr. Rainsy posted to his Facebook page a call for the government to only use the constitutionally mandated 1:100,000-scale map to draw Cambodia’s border and then use GPS technology to ensure markers are planted on that borderline.
However, he said those two tasks can be insufficient, claiming that Vietnam has continued to lay claim to a stretch of land already demarcated to the Cambodian side in Kompong Ro district between border markers 202 and 203.
“According to many actual instances, even when the tasks in point one and two as above have been completed properly, it does not matter—Vietnam still does not respect the territorial integrity of Cambodia, and has arrogantly expanded their entry into our country,” Mr. Rainsy said.
“For instance, a portion of Cambodia’s territory in Svay Rieng province’s Kampong Ro district…has already been annexed by Vietnam, which—according to a Hanoi-produced map—considers that portion of Cambodia’s territory as being part of Vietnam’s Long An province.”
Alongside the claim, Mr. Rainsy posted an image of what he said was a Vietnamese-drawn map of its Long An province overlaid on the 1:100,000-scale Cambodian map, showing Vietnam’s claim intruding inside Cambodia.
The map shows a borderline about 1 km past the line between posts 202 and 203, which corresponds with where authorities and thugs lined up to block activists led by CNRP lawmaker Real Camerin during a trip to the border on July 19.
Koy Pisey, deputy director of the secretariat of the National Authority in Charge of Border Affairs, said Sunday that Mr. Rainsy’s post was ill-informed and that the provenance of his Vietnamese-drawn map was unclear.
“We do not know where he got that map from and we cannot recognize it,” Ms. Pisey said by telephone. “We should be careful about that map. What he has shown will create chaos, and he has to be responsible for that.”
Yet Ms. Pisey said the controversial patch of land around border posts 202 and 203 is still in the process of being demarcated with smaller posts, and that no transfers of land can be executed until that is done.
“We have both respected the agreements. Anywhere [Vietnam] used to control, they continue to control that area; anywhere we used to control, we continue to control that place,” Ms. Pisey said. “We have demarcated but we still have two or three steps to complete to install interval border posts.”
Ms. Pisey explained that once the smaller interval posts are planted between posts 202 and 203, the land on the Cambodian and Vietnamese sides of the clearly delineated border would be returned to whoever is the rightful owner.