Vietnam Fails to Fill in 3 Large Encroaching Ponds, CNRP Says

Five months after Vietnam pledged to fill in three large ponds its citizens illegally dug half a kilometer inside Cambodian territory in Ratanakkiri province, CNRP lawmakers say the reservoirs remain untouched.

In early July, after the government notified Hanoi of eight large ponds in O’Yadaw district it said “were dug deep in Cambodian territory,” Vietnam agreed to fill in three and study the five others.

On Tuesday, CNRP lawmakers Son Chhay and Mao Monyvann said they visited the pond sites on Monday during a trip to discuss political affairs with party officials in Ratanakkiri and discovered that the 5-by-13-meter reservoirs remained undisturbed.

“When I got to the area to be an eyewitness to the scene, I saw the eight ponds have not yet been filled in,” Mr. Monyvann said. “As a lawmaker, I will write to Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong to inform him that the ponds are not filled in.”

“I will ask him to send a new diplomatic note demanding once again that the Vietnamese side respect its promise to fill in the ponds,” he added.

A video of their visit to the offending ponds posted to Mr. Monyvann’s Facebook page shows Mr. Chhay saying he will ensure that Vietnam follows through.

“We continue to make demands, as we all know it’s a matter of our soil, so we cannot keep our mouth shut and stop talking or protesting, even if there are some people prohibiting and scaring us,” Mr. Chhay said. “It’s the obligation of every citizen.”

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry said he could not confirm the current status of the ponds, some of which the ministry said in June were located as far as 545 meters inside Cambodian territory. But he said the ministry was looking into the lawmaker’s latest claims.

“I cannot confirm anything now, but I have made contact to get information from the related persons,” Mr. Sounry said, adding that he also could not comment on whether Vietnam would be asked again to fill in the ponds.

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