The provincial governor says the gateways are vital to Thailand's cross-border trade and will proceed despite tension in other areas
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A soldier with rolls of ammunition on his shoulder in Veal Intry in this file photo.
SIMMERING border tensions have not affected plans to open new border gateways in Banteay Meanchey province, a local businessman told the Post Sunday.
Sam Phannarith, director of the Sam Phanrith Development Company Ltd, said construction is progressing on roads and border checkpoints leading into Thailand's Srah Keo province from Boeung Snor village, Sla Kram commune and Prey Chan village, O Bei Choan commune, both in Banteay Meanchey province.
The new crossings were approved by the government in January, Sam Phannarith said.
"The gateways ... will be open in about three months or more. We're not concerned about the project. Our work has continued without interruption," he told the Post.
He said that while other border areas continue to face uncertainty in the wake of violent clashes between Thai and Cambodian soldiers in October in Preah Vihear province, villagers in Boeung Snor and Prey Chan have good relations with their cross-border counterparts.
"The Thais have already arranged for the opening of the gateway.... When it comes to the economy, we cannot let events in other places affect what is happening here," Sam Phannarith said.
The roads that will connect the two provinces are still being built, he said, adding that people have already been crossing the border without incident.
'They need us'
Ung Oeun, governor of Banteay Meanchey, said more work needs to be done but that nothing would stop the opening of the new border crossings.
"Thai authorities have not been able to focus on it because the government has no leader at the moment. But in February or March, it will open because the Thais need us more than we need them," he said."In terms of economics, they need us. They need to export goods to us," he added.
Ung Oeun said the atmosphere from Sam Pov Lun district in Battambang to Oddar Meanchey and Banteay Meanchy has remained calm, and residents are not worried about lingering border conflicts elsewhere.
"On January 7, the governor of Srah Keo province [in Thailand] will visit us, and I will talk to him about the opening of the gateways," he said.