Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung, will inaugurate two new border demarcation posts in the provinces of Ratanakkiri and Takeo on Saturday, according to Koy Pisey, Cambodia’s deputy chief of border affairs.
Ms. Pisey said the prime ministers would appear together at a ceremony on the border of Ratanakkiri and Gia Lai provinces in the morning, and again on the border of Takeo and An Giang provinces in the evening.
The posts have been planted near the O’Yadaw International Checkpoint in the country’s northeast and near the Phnom Den International Checkpoint in the southeast, Ms. Pisey said, adding that 83 percent of the shared border had now been officially demarcated.
“As compatriots know, border affairs is very complicated, so it requires having agreements from the two countries because we plant border markers in order to transform frontiers into peaceful and harmonized borders,” she said.
The government’s work demarcating and protecting its eastern frontier was at the center of an opposition campaign earlier this year to highlight Vietnamese encroachments into Cambodia, including a series of ponds that Vietnamese farmers dug in Ratanakkiri.
Vietnamese state media reported that the locations of the two new border posts were agreed to during a meeting of the Joint Border Committee in Phnom Penh in November, and that the “demarcation between Viet Nam and Cambodia is basically completed.”
Quoting Nguyen Anh Dung, deputy chairman of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s border commission, the article in Viet Nam News says there are six areas along the border in Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and Svay Rieng that remain contentious.
“He pointed out difficulties in the work such as border management, the use of old-fashioned maps…that fail to match realities, as well as Cambodia opposition forces’ sabotage activities to divide bilateral friendship,” the article says.
CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An, who has been at the fore of opposition efforts to discredit the government’s decades of work demarcating the border with Vietnam, said the two new posts infringed upon Cambodian territory.
“The information we received from local villagers is that the key border marker No. 30 in Ratanakkiri province is planted deep inside Cambodia’s land,” said Mr. Sam An, who is living outside the country for fear that he will be arrested upon his return.
He said the position of the border marker in Takeo was based on the location of a canal dug by Vietnam in 1979, and was not consistent with the constitutionally mandated French maps that are supposed to determine demarcation.
“Border markers should be planted based on France’s legacy, not based on a treaty made in the 1980s, because Cambodia was under Vietnam’s control,” he said.
Ms. Pisey said Mr. Sam An and like-minded opposition politicians were wrong.
“Whatever they said, I deny it, because it is incorrect,” she said.