With the recent arrival of a senior Cambodian border official in Hanoi, Vietnamese leaders pledged to solve—definitively and peacefully—the contentious border issue with Cambodia, according to reports Monday from Vietnam News.
Asserting that both Cambodia and Vietnam “place great importance” on signing a “supplementary agreement on the 1985 land border treaty,” the Vietnam News Service report also stated that Vietnam emphasizes the necessity of building landmarks to demarcate the border.
Cambodian border activists, however, criticized the visit by Var Kim Hong, Cambodia’s chairman of the government’s border committee, arguing that the border negotiations lacked transparency and were based on a treaty detrimental to Cambodian interests.
“The National Assembly should know the details of the treaty,” said Funcinpec lawmaker Princess Norodom Vacheara, arguing that the lack of open debate was causing concern among ordinary Cambodians. “It will be too late when the content is released, the National Assembly will have already adopted it,” she said.
A Council of Ministers report dated Aug 11 and signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An stated, “The supplemental treaty must not be publicized until the National Assembly ratifies the document,” according to copy obtained earlier this month.
“Var Kim Hong’s trip to Vietnam is against Cambodia’s interests,” charged Chuop Kampuchea, president of the Khmer Border Protection Organization, arguing that the 1985 treaty was unfair because it was signed under Vietnamese occupation. The 1985 treaty was effectively annulled by the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement, the organization said in a September statement.
“Cambodia lost a lot of land according to the 1985 treaty, and this has been proved by people on the border,” said Sun Sokun, deputy president of the Khmer Front Party, referring to reports of alleged border encroachment by Vietnam.
“We pledge to protest until [treaties signed under Vietnamese occupation] are annulled,” he said.