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Committee chairman breaks down border issues to Council of Ministers

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Border Affairs Committee chairman Var Kim Hong (left) and Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros (right). Heng Chivoan

Committee chairman breaks down border issues to Council of Ministers

At the request of the Supreme Council for Consultation, and with the authorisation of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Border Affairs Committee chairman Var Kim Hong on Thursday held a meeting at the Council of Ministers to clarify the recent agreements between Cambodia and Vietnam.

On October 5, during a state visit to Vietnam, Hun Sen and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed the Supplementary Treaty to the 1985 Treaty on the Delimitation of National Boundaries and the 2005 Supplementary Treaty.

The Protocol on the Demarcation and Marker Planting of the Land Boundary between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was also inked.

Thursday’s meeting came after Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros, a member of the council, submitted a letter to Hun Sen requesting clarification of the border issues.

After the meeting, Sros told reporters he accepted the clarification provided by Kim Hong, but would look into the matter further. “The clarification was technical. Whatever I asked, he clarified, and I accept that.

“But if I do some empirical research comparing what he has said to reality, and I find any disparity, we will review it because this is not the end.

“Firstly, we have to allow [Kim Hong] to provide technical clarification, but on behalf of a political party, we not only listen, but we also have to conduct further investigation,” Sros said.

Kim Hong told reporters that several officials from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) had always used border issues to attack the government and serve their party’s interests, even though it was well known that their allegations and criticisms were unfounded.

The supplementary treaty to the 1985 treaty did not involve Cambodia losing land, he said, but rather only benefiting.

“In the exchange of land between Cambodia and Vietnam, the Border Affairs Committee ensured that Cambodia didn’t lose land at all. We have exchanged 34 areas with Vietnam in a peaceful and completely agreeable manner,” he said.

The two countries had yet to agree on the remaining 16 per cent of the Cambodia-Vietnam border demarcation, Kim Hong said, but negotiations were ongoing according to internationally agreed to principles.

He said the Dak Dam area in former Cochinchina remained under discussion, and the Border Affairs Committee would leave it to Hun Sen to decide how to proceed.

Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath claimed that the opposition was only seeking to voice its concern over the loss of Cambodian territory, and was merely looking to defend people who have lost land.

“The border issue concerns the loss of territory, so it’s not something that the opposition just uses as a pretext to attract support. Cambodians are always worried about losing their land, and many people claim to have done so,” he said.

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