Retired King Takes Leaders to Task Over Borders

Retired King Norodom Si­ha­nouk once again deplored the en­croachment of neighboring countries on Cambodian territory and chided Cambodian leaders for the country’s ill-defined borders.

In his message, dated Sunday, No­ro­dom Sihanouk wrote that the “white zones,” the disputed areas along the borders, which he said are “shamelessly and illegally violating the territorial Integri­ty of Cam­bodia are absolutely un­ac­­ceptable.”

Norodom Sihanouk wrote that the map of the country, drawn up by Cambodia in 1964 at the UN, showed no uncertainties as to where Cambodia began and ended. This assessment, he said, was ac­knowledged by Deputy Prime Mi­nister and Cabinet Mi­nister Sok An, Var Kimhong, chairman of the gov­ern­ment’s border com­mittee, and For­eign Affairs Mi­nistry Secretary of State Long Vis­alo.

“The ‘white zones’ are a pure in­vention of neighbor X or Y or Z of Cam­­­­­bodia and imposed on Khmers enfeoffed to the foreign Powers X or Y or Z,” the retired King wrote in the mes­­sage, posted on his Web site.

Norodom Sihanouk, who was re­­­­­­cently appointed as chairman of the new Supreme National Council on border issues, added that until he was ousted from power in 1970, he had not known of any contested zones along the border.

Since 1979, parts of Cambodian wa­ters were claimed by Vietnam, the retired King said.

He added that neighboring countries, including Laos and Thai­land, had in some places moved the boundary marks on the border 17 km or more inside Cam­bodia.

“[T]he ‘white zones’ are purely and simply given by the Khmer au­thorities to…Vietnam under the shame­­­ful ‘disguise’ of ‘zones of which the belonging is again put on the carpet of discussions and ne­gotiations,’” he wrote.

Earlier this month, following his ap­­pointment to the Supreme Na­tional Council, Norodom Sihanouk ur­ged citizens to go to the borders and report occurrences of en­croachment directly to him.

Since then, members of both the Students Movement for De­mo­cracy and the ultra-nationalist Khmer Front Party have visited the borders in answer to his call.


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