The Vietnamese government has ordered border authorities on its end to make a report responding to allegations that Vietnamese forces have encroached onto Cambodian territory by digging ponds and constructing a military post inside Ratanakkiri and Kandal provinces, respectively.
According to a press release issued yesterday following Tuesday’s bilateral meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong and Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Le Hoai Trung, the two officials discussed the diplomatic notes sent by Cambodia to Vietnam over the issue.
Trung reportedly denied that Vietnam constructed a new military post in Kandal’s Koh Thom district, saying that authorities had only repaired an older one, but provided no comment on the ponds in Ratanikkiri’s O’Yadav district.
“The deputy Vietnamese foreign affairs minister told His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister [Hor Namhong] that … [Vietnamese leaders] were awaiting the report,” the release reads.
“His Excellency suggested the Vietnamese side stop construction.… [But] the Vietnamese foreign affairs deputy minister maintained that it was just a repair.”
It also said Namhong reiterated to Trung that Prime Minister Hun Sen had many times raised the issue with Vietnamese leaders, and asked Vietnam to refrain from any activities within zones that had not yet been demarcated.
Meanwhile, opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker Um Sam An, who has recently visited portions of the Cambodia-Vietnam border, dismissed the Vietnamese official’s comments, saying that the newly constructed Vietnamese military post is actually 100 metres closer to Cambodian land than it was previously.
He also urged the government to push Vietnam to respect the territorial map sent to the UN in the 1960s by the late King Sihanouk – which shows the country’s constitutionally stipulated borders – and denied the legitimacy of subsequent border treaties with Vietnam in 1985 and 2005.
“The problem is that if Cambodia demands Vietnam to respect the 1985 treaty, it’s wrong and contrary to the 1991 Paris Peace Agreement and contrary to the constitution,” he said.
“If we demand [Vietnam] respect the 1985 treaty, it will cause Cambodia to lose territory.”