British Prime Minister David Cameron has written to Prime Minister Hun Sen informing him that his government does not have copies of a map of Cambodia’s border with Vietnam that Mr. Hun Sen requested from him last month.
After members of the opposition CNRP accused the government of not using maps mandated by the Constitution, Mr. Hun Sen last month sent letters to some world leaders asking for copies of maps provided to those countries by Cambodia over the past century.
Mr. Cameron, in his letter dated August 21, said the U.K. does not possess the specific maps requested by Mr. Hun Sen.
“On receipt of your letter, I instructed my officials to make detailed searches of the national archives,” he wrote in the letter released Tuesday.
Mr. Cameron said the searches did not turn up the requested maps, but that three maps published by the Service Geographique de l’Indochine in France are stored in the British Library.
“These are publicly available documents, which your Embassy representatives would be able to view if they wish,” he wrote.
Mr. Hun Sen, in a response also released Tuesday, said he would seek to borrow the maps stored in London to help prove that the ones currently used by the government are correct.
“In fact, the maps in use by the government in setting and placing border markers with Vietnam are right and fully compliant with the law,” Mr. Hun Sen wrote to Mr. Cameron.
The Constitution says that a copy of the French-drawn “Bonne” map stored at the U.N., which the U.N. has said it cannot find, must be used to demarcate the border with Vietnam.
CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An said Tuesday that only comparisons to that map can prove the government’s claims.
“If there are no correct maps yet, it is not correct to say the government’s maps are correct,” he said.
Yet Royal Academy of Cambodia scholar Sok Touch, who has been tasked with researching recent border issues, said he plans to use the government’s maps when he begins traveling to inspect border posts to see if they have been correctly placed.
“We have decided to use the government’s maps for our research because the government’s maps are legitimate and have been stamped for recognition by Vietnam for official use in border demarcation,” Mr. Touch said.