Tea Banh to Meet With Firm in Land Dispute

During a five-day state visit to China that starts today, Defense Minister Tea Banh will meet with officials from the Union Development Group (UDG), a Chinese firm that has evicted hundreds of families to make way for its tourism development in Koh Kong province.

In a statement issued Monday, the Defense Ministry said General Banh would meet with Chinese military officials including his counterpart, Chang Wanquan.

The statement said Gen. Banh “will also visit the Union Development Group company and a number of the Chinese Defense Ministry’s other key institutions.”

UDG is building a $3.8-billion tourism project on 45,000 hectares of Botum Sakor National Park in Koh Kong.

It has deforested much of the site for what it says will be an eco-friendly development and forced some 1,000 families off their land.

A few hundred families still facing eviction have clashed with company workers in recent months.

The Defense Ministry’s statement did not say why Mr. Banh was scheduled to meet with UDG.

Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said he did not know the reason for the meeting, or whether the land dispute would be raised.

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