Cambodian and Vietnamese officials followed through on plans to inaugurate the final border post separating the two countries yesterday, even though it’s technically not the last post because there are still 27 that need to go in the ground.
But who’s counting, right?
The ceremony for post number 314 was held in the southern province of Kampot overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
Prime ministers Hun Sen and Nguyen Tan Dung spoke, flanked by about 1,000 officials from Cambodia and Vietnam.
“Given this opportunity, I would like to declare that the affairs of border-building have been enforced by standing on the basis of national and international law,” Hun Sen said. “Actually, if we do not make the effort to plant the border post, the border problem will continue for many years to come.”
The border posting marked the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties established between the two countries in 1967, a relationship that has continued despite a brief hiatus when the Khmer Rouge severed ties with Vietnam.
Nguyen Tan Dung said the border post would bolster co-operation in commerce, tourism and investment along the border.
“Post 314 is a beautiful construction located at the seaside of both countries, having fresh air, a beautiful view, located near an international border checkpoint,” he said. “I believe that in the near future, this location would become good for tourism.”
Including yesterday’s addition, 287 finished border posts stretch along more than 1,000 kilometres between Vietnam and Cambodia.
Officials expect to put down the rest by the end of the year.
Not everyone, however, was in a congratulatory mood yesterday.
A representative of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party was sceptical about the benefits, economic or otherwise, the border crossing would bring. And he questioned the transparency of the demarcation plans.
“If [this border planting] is right, [Hun Sen] allows international observers, national observers, parliamentarians of other political parties to participate and have a look,” Yim Sovann said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]