Prince Norodom Ranariddh has written a letter to Prime Minister Hen Sen urging talks with Vietnam over alleged border violations in the rice-growing districts of Memot and Ponhea Krek in Kompong Cham province.
After receiving a report from National Assembly defense commission members who were sent to investigate the case, the prince is accusing Vietnam of violating an agreement he reached with them on Jan 17, 1995.
“The agreement I signed with the Vietnamese government clearly expresses neither faction can revise or change what has been done,” the prince wrote. “According to the agreement, Vietnam has to allow Cambodians to farm there.
“There has been a change of situation at the border,” his letter continued. “I would like to request the prime minister to take action to urgently negotiate with the Vietnamese side.”
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is scheduled to begin a four-day visit to Cambodia Sunday, but there is no formal meeting planned on border disputes.
Instead, he will sign memorandum of understanding documents promising scientific and technical cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fishing, and an agreement on the exhumation and repatriation of the remains of Vietnamese soldiers killed in action during war with Cambodia.
The prince said Cambodians have been farming the disputed area for several years but were stopped this year by Vietnamese authorities, who claimed the fields overlapped with Vietnamese land.
Kompong Cham governor Chieng Am has asked the two governments to clearly map the border. He said Thursday he has ordered local authorities to stop any cultivation by Vietnamese farmers on the disputed land and to confiscate their tractors, if necessary.
According to Chieng Am, there are five parcels of land being disputed, ranging in size from 20 to 130 hectares.
“It is hard to talk with Vietnam’s side, because they always show us their map and claim the land,” Chieng Am said. “Now I plan to create villages and construct schools, roads, pagodas and markets along the border.”