THE Cambodian and Vietnamese governments announced on Friday that BlomInfo A/S – a land surveying company from Denmark – has won a contract to produce a topographic map of the countries’ sensitive shared border.
BlomInfo A/S was selected over four other surveying firms, and will enter contractual negotiations with the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments on January 10.
“This is just a bidding stage at which point the bidder has met the technical criteria,” Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, told reporters on Friday.
“We won’t know whether the company will accept all of our requirements or not until after the negotiation,” he said. “But if there are positive outcomes from the negotiation, we will sign the agreement and let the company start its topographic mapping project.”
BlomInfo A/S would be tasked with updating current maps – which are nearly six decades old – using GPS technology. The mapping process will conclude in August 2012 and cost US$1.5 million.
Var Kimhong said the new maps would be in line with international standards, and help the two countries avoid any potential border conflicts.
Cambodia and Vietnam’s shared border has recently come under fire from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party and other critics, who allege that Cambodia has ceded territory at various points along the border.
SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said on Saturday that border mapping should not begin “until all demarcation posts are planted”. Var Kimhong said that more than 200 out of 375 border posts have so far been planted.
Last week, Son Chhay led a group of SRP officials to the border in Kampong Cham province, where he said a group of Vietnamese soldiers prevented his delegation from visiting border post 103. He claimed the soldiers crossed into Cambodian territory to intercept them.
Nguyen Hong Thao, deputy director of the border committee of Vietnam, said the topographic map was an important step in fully realising a border treaty signed by the two nations in 2005.
“Producing a border land map of both countries will help transform the borderlines to become cooperative, peaceful and friendly,” he said.