The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party will send digital maps of the Kingdom to the Royal Academy today to compare with copies provided by the United Nations, United States and France of the original French-Indochina maps known as the “Bonne maps”.
“The Royal Academy demanded the CNRP show the digital copies of the maps that we have in our hand,” said Ou Chanrith, an opposition lawmaker and acting spokesman of the CNRP, who confirmed the documents were to be sent this morning.
He added that the CNRP would also provide copies to the government in response to the recent request made by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“We hope that after the government [has] collected all of the maps from the UN and other relevant countries, it will open up transparently to all national and international experts, and to the political parties that sit in the National Assembly and the Senate,” Chanrith said.
Sok Touch, head of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy who is conducting border research for the government, said he will begin to study the maps tomorrow and provide an assessment to parliament.
However, he said he believes that studying the maps may take two years.
“We wanted the politicians to have national unity when it comes to the maps, to achieve clear demarcation . . . with neighbouring countries,” he explained.
“We don’t want the politicians to push people to the border [to protest].”
Over the past several months, tensions have been brewing along the eastern border where Cambodia meets Vietnam.
CNRP lawmakers have claimed that the government is using maps that improperly demarcate the territory and allow Vietnam to encroach on Cambodian land.
Um Sam An, a CNRP lawmaker, has claimed that Cambodia has ceded territory to Vietnam to benefit Vietnamese development projects.
The debate also sparked a clash between Cambodian nationalists and Vietnamese farmers and militiamen at the border in late June.
Hun Sen early last month requested the maps from the UN, UK, US and France in order to verify the ongoing demarcation of the boundary with Vietnam.
Phay Siphan, spokesman at the Council of Ministers, declined to comment yesterday, referring questions to the government’s newly established border working group.
The senior minister of border affairs, Va Kim Hong, could not be reached for comment yesterday.