Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Border embarrasses ASEAN

Border embarrasses ASEAN

Border embarrasses ASEAN

110506_2
Ouk Damry, a member of the National Assembly, speaks during an ASEAN-ISIS conference held in Phnom Penh yesterday.

The Secretary General of the Association of South East Asian Nations admitted its failure to resolve Cambodia and Thailand’s border dispute had become “embarrassing” yesterday, as delegates at a Phnom Penh conference of the regional body warned its relevance was threatened by the issue.
Ahead of an ASEAN summit in Indonesia this weekend, Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said attending regional leaders should give the border dispute a “high level of attention”.
“It has been so embarrassing for ASEAN already, not being able to solve this problem,” he said.
“But ASEAN has tried. I think you have to recognise the fact that ASEAN has never been so pro-active before this year on this issue.”
In February, at a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers, it was agreed in principle that Indonesian observers would enter the border area. But Thailand has yet to confirm the terms of reference for their deployment.
Pou Sothirak, a Cambodian government advisor, told an ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies conference in Phnom Penh yesterday that if the dispute was not resolved, other member nations would revert to settling disputes by force.
“The border clashes between Cambodia and Thailand are now threatening the very existence of ASEAN – if this now develops into a full blown war ASEAN must do something right,” he said.
Dr Tang Siew Mun, director of foreign policy and security studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies in Malaysia, agreed the issue had becoming embarrassing for ASEAN on the sidelines of yesterday’s conference at the capital’s Cambodiana hotel.
“This is definitely a test case on how ASEAN functions as a community because ASEAN needs to, for lack of a better work, to police.
“It needs to keep the peace within the community itself,” he said.
“If we can’t do that, then what’s the point in having this community, we need to be able to solve problems within ourselves.”
The ASEAN charter, which came into effect in 2008, commits the regional body and its member states to a principal of non-interference with fellow members.
Cambodia is due to takeover chairmanship of ASEAN at the beginning of next year.
Thai and Cambodian forces continued to honour a ceasefire yesterday negotiated the previous day, Ouk Damry, a member of the National Assembly told the ASEAN – ISIS Conference.
“The sound of fighting has stopped and villagers returned to their villages,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,