The head of a research team investigating the demarcation of Cambodia’s borders yesterday called for changes to the Kingdom’s constitution to avoid losing land to Vietnam.
The government has tasked the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s border research team to examine the issue after accusations by the opposition that authorities had ceded land to Vietnam by using the wrong maps to delineate the border.
At a press conference yesterday, team leader Sok Touch verified that 26 maps used by the government and 24 out of 26 collected by the Cambodia National Rescue Party from France were, largely, the same.
Touch said the 24 CNRP maps, as well as another set of 26 from the French Institute, had been verified as the “Bonne” maps, created by French colonial authorities between 1951 and 1954.
Two of the CNRP maps were found to be unrelated, he said.
“We now have found that all maps that we have received from the Royal Government, the CNRP and the French Institute are the same,” Touch said.
However, Touch warned that by using the “Bonne” maps – explicitly recognised in Cambodia’s constitution – to delineate the eastern border, the Kingdom would lose some 50 kilometres of land in Mondulkiri province.
“To prevent the loss of Cambodian land to neighbouring countries, I would recommend the leader of the Royal Government of Cambodia amend Article 2 of Cambodian constitution,” Touch said.
CNRP spokesman Ou Chanrith declined to comment on the proposal while senior minister of border affairs Var Kimhong could not be reached.