As members of the newly formed Supreme National Council prepared for their first meeting in Beijing today to discuss encroachment on Cambodia’s borders, state-run TVK on Monday aired a lengthy speech on the subject by Cabinet Minister Sok An.
The fact that the speech was made during a National Assembly meeting in 2002 was irrelevant, said Mao Ayuth, CPP secretary of state for the Ministry of Information. “We rebroadcast it so that [critics] would stop saying we did nothing” to protect Cambodia’s borders, Mao Ayuth said Tuesday. He added the three-year-old broadcast was “to remind people that the government tried to work hard on border issues.”
In the dated speech, Sok An defended the border treaties of 1982, 1983 and 1985, made between the Vietnamese-installed People’s Republic of Kampuchea, the precursor to today’s ruling-CPP government, and Vietnam—treaties that retired King Norodom Sihanouk, the chairman of the new Supreme National Council, has said he will never recognize.
“These treaties have at no point made Cambodia lose territory,” Sok An said in the speech. On the contrary, he said, Vietnam recognized that the tiny island, Koh Wai, belonged to Cambodia.
The rebroadcast is likely an indicator of the government’s stance at today’s Supreme National Council meeting in Beijing, especially as Sok An has been appointed as the government’s representative to the council, said Koul Panha, executive director of the Committee for Free and Fair Elections.
Koul Panha said that TVK should not engage in furthering the CPP and government’s agenda—especially when other parties have limited access to state media. “TVK was not professional and such rebroadcast…was not acting as a national TV station, but the government’s or ruling party’s.”
Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said he was disappointed that TVK did not air the entire 2002 Assembly debate again. The state-controlled station had cut out the questions made at the time by members of the opposition party, leaving only Sok An’s statement.