The National Assembly unanimously approved a supplementary text to the 1985 Treaty on the Delimitation of the National Boundary to recognise that 84 per cent of the demarcation along the Cambodia-Vietnam frontier had been achieved.
The 2019 Supplementary Treaty, which was approved on Monday, allows Cambodia and Vietnam to revise the points along the border that were set in the 1985 treaty and a separate 2005 Supplementary Treaty so that both parties receive an equal share of territory.
Minister of National Defence Tea Banh told 110 of 125 Cambodia People’s Party National Assembly members assembled to cast their vote that they had approved the most important legal document since Cambodia and Vietnam formally began demarcation efforts.
Banh, who is also a deputy prime minister, said of the treaty: “It is a fundamental document to protect Cambodia’s territorial integrity. With stable borders, Cambodians can happily enjoy security, peace, stability, friendship, cooperation and development in all sectors.”
He said the terms of the supplementary treaty were reached in Hanoi on October 5 through a process which included five rotating meetings, four exchanges of diplomatic notes and three formal letters regarding contested points which were not discussed during the Hanoi meetings.
Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) spokesperson Loek Sothea told The Post that while the National Assembly was unanimous in its approval, Cambodia’s political spectrum was not equally united over the treaty.
The GDP submitted a request in writing that the vote be delayed over fears that the National Assembly is led by one party to vote on a delicate political issue Sothea said.
He claimed that Cambodia was not unified and that making such a sensitive decision will only deepen the Kingdom’s political divide.
“Border issues are sensitive flashpoints that can be used to incite anger and inspire people to revolt. The GDP is concerned regarding a potential uprising and does not want Cambodia to relive its traumatic past,” Sothea said.
The GDP will submit a petition to the Senate and King Norodom Sihamoni requesting that they intervene in the 2019 Supplementary Treaty’s approval, he said.
Banh said that the road to achieving 84 per cent demarcation was difficult for both parties as anytime a location was disputed, both parties would have to go there to verify that the poles were placed according to the maps and standards agreed by both parties.
He told reporters that the government was not concerned about critics, saying that most of them had never gone to see the border installations and had not studied the demarcation lines.
“If they want to speak, let them speak, we cannot prevent them. We worked on this task for 13 years before we could achieve this [the 2019 Supplementary Treaty],” he said.