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Border demarcation marks ‘new chapter’

Border demarcation marks ‘new chapter’

Cambodia and Thailand agreed to sideline domestic politics and begin actually mapping border markers as the two countries seek to make progress demarcating their contested border at the latest meeting of the Joint Border Committee yesterday.

Var Kimhong, Cambodia’s chief border negotiator, said Thailand would no longer require that border surveys be approved by its National Assembly, marking a “new chapter” in the neighbours’ demarcation process, after the meeting in Bangkok yesterday.

“There was a good environment at the meeting from which Thai political issues will no longer be an obstacle and the Cambodian JBC will be able to carry out its work on the actual land,” he said.

The two sides had agreed to employ highly accurate orthophoto mapping technology in the process of border demarcation, as experts from both countries spent two months establishing 23 survey markers from Poipet in Banteay Meanchey to Ta Moan temple.

A Thai government source who declined to be named said yesterday that four permanent checkpoints would also be established along the border.

Cambodia and Thailand have never fully demarcated their 805-kilometre shared border, and the process has stalled since a dispute over the area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple flared when Cambodia was awarded World Heritage recognition for the site in 2008.

Demarcation talks at a meeting of the JBC last April failed to yield any progress on the issue during a low period of Cambodian and Thai relations.

Those negotiations came on the heels of fierce, bloody clashes near disputed territory surrounding the Preah Vihear temple in February and April that left at least 28 people dead and displaced thousands of villagers.

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