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Cambodia seeks new meet with Vietnam on border issues

Border committee head Var Kimhong talks to the media in Phnom Penh after concluding a border meeting with Vietnam in August.
Border committee head Var Kimhong talks to the media in Phnom Penh after concluding a border meeting with Vietnam in August. Heng Chivoan

Cambodia seeks new meet with Vietnam on border issues

Cambodian officials have invited their Vietnamese counterparts to another meeting to discuss long-standing border issues that went unresolved at an ambitious but ultimately fruitless confab in late August.

Var Kimhong, head of Cambodia’s border committee, yesterday said he sent the request to the Vietnamese two weeks ago asking for further negotiations to solve the nations’ border issues “in a peaceful way”.

“It will be the same issues and can be held in Cambodia or Vietnam,” Kimhong said.

The two neighbouring countries have long butted heads over the exact location of the border, and more recently over alleged encroachments, including in Ratanakkiri, where the Vietnamese are constructing a police checkpoint.

The two sides met in late August but failed to release a joint statement or sign a memorandum of understanding detailing the meeting’s talking points.

The sticking point was the Cambodian delegation’s insistence that the principle of uti possidetis juris – the tenet of international law that newly independent states should inherit their borders from the state they previously belonged to – be used as the starting point of the discussions.

However, the Vietnamese sought to base discussions on current land use and occupation, which would give them claim to land around ponds recently dug by Vietnamese villagers in Ratanakkiri.

Kimhong yesterday reiterated that Cambodia wanted to solve the issue bilaterally without involving international courts.

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