I write to reply to the letter from Mr Sam Sovanna about his criticism of my view
concerning Cambodia's membership into the Asean group.
I am glad that a member of the Cambodian National Assembly has replied to this subject
of the Cambodian entry to this Asean grouping, that at least shows that our National
Assembly is "not sleeping", according to Mr. Sam Sovanna's own distincive
words, as published, in his letter to you (Post, Sept 6).
I am also very impressed with Mr. Sam Sovanna's confidence in the Vietnamese people's
brotherly love for the Cambodian people - so much love for us that they want to come
to live with us permanently.
At the present time, none of the existing Asean members have common borders touching
Vietnam's, only Cambodia has. Cambodians can walk over to the border with Vietnam,
thus Vietnamese people can walk over to the border with Cambodia, therefore without
visa requirement from either side.
There is no border between our two nations as far as the people are concerned, this
shall be the same for Thailand.
I am very indecisive about all these free movements between our neighbor nations,
when there are common land borders touching each other, although I must admit I am
very impressed with Mr Sam Sovanna's concept with his " The brotherhood of all
men, regardless of creed, race, color or religion."
The Malays and the Indonesians love their Vietnamese brothers so much that those
two Asean members forced the Vietnamese boat people back to Vietnam.
I have a half brother in Vietnam, one year older than I am. He is Vietnamese but
born in Cambodia and he has both nationalities. He just walks across the border every
time he comes back to visit us, visa free. My brother whom my father loved very much
because his mother was my father's first Vietnamese true love, that is why they gave
birth to my half brother.
On the western front, Cambodians can go to work in Bangkok, but why does the Thai
government insist that Cambodian refugees along our common border with the Thai nation
must return to Cambodian territory to find a living?
I would like to see our National Assembly openly discuss this question of our entry
into the Asean grouping, because we have common land border with Vietnam, other members
of the Asean grouping don't have this geographical situation, we are the buffer zone
between the Asean nations and Vietnam.
- Veak Rin Van, Phnom Penh.