Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Demarcation ‘complicated’




Demarcation ‘complicated’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Deputy head of the Border Affairs Committee Koy Pisey says she and her team is chugging along to get the boundaries right. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Demarcation ‘complicated’

Demarcation of the remaining borders with Vietnam, Thailand and Laos is turning out to be complicated in terms of technical and legal documents, but substantial progress is being made, a top official said.

Cambodian Border Affairs Committee vice-chair Koy Pisey said in an exclusive interview with The Post that the work continues a mission started by King Norodom Sihanouk and once completed, will be a substantial symbol in Cambodia’s history.

For now, Pisey and her team is chugging along to get the boundaries right.

Pisey said Cambodia has so far planted 315 out of a total 375 border markers with Vietnam, or 84 per cent.

Cambodia has also planted 121 of 145 border markers on the Thai border, equivalent to 86 per cent.

Cambodia and Thailand have also located 45 of the 73 old border markers planted by the French-Siam joint border committee during the French colonial era. That is 62 per cent complete.

She said the planting of remaining border markers between Vietnam and Lao was also difficult in terms of maps and techniques in drawing and copying maps because the countries had used a Bonne 1/100,000-scale map.

“These maps were published long ago. We cannot take them as the basis to plant markers on the actual land because markers on the maps and the actual locations are not the same.

“Regarding Thailand, we have explored old markers and there are currently 28. We haven’t reached a consensus on the locations because they are different from the original,” Pisey said.

She said the border demarcation negotiations also involve interpreting documents containing the decisions of the governor-general of Indochina.

Each party has to take the documents as evidence. “So they have a map belonging to them, but our Cambodian side has another document. Hence, we need time and talks to find a solution,” she said.

Pisey said the government is carrying out a mission left over from King Norodom Sihanouk after Cambodia gained independence from France.

“The 1993 Constitution states that our Bonne 1/100,000-scale map was published by the Indochinese geographical team between 1933 and 1953. This is the main resource that the government has as reference for border issue solutions,” she said.

Pisey said while gaining independence from France, King Sihanouk had placed the map at the UN for the international community to recognise the current Cambodian borders.

“It means we accept the borders as France handed them over to us. We are not demanding more than that. Sihanouk’s markers had not yet been planted, so the government has taken over the mission to plant markers on the actual land,” Pisey said.

She said she takes great pride in her work on the boundaries because previously the borders had been war zones and abandoned. Today the border areas are developed and many people live there, thereby making them stronger.

Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a circular in 2015, banning all people from renting or selling land along the borders to the people of neighbouring countries.

It was aimed at maintaining land titles and legal interests and raising Cambodian living standards. The goal was also to facilitate the task of demarcating and planting boundary markers to preserve territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

In October last year, on the occasion of signing a document recognising border markers with Vietnam, Hun Sen said: “The Royal Government of Cambodia will transform the Cambodia-Vietnam borderlines and the Cambodian borders with Lao and Thailand alike into a true international border to end border [conflicts].

“We will join together to transform the border areas into a free-fear zone and a harmonious and glorious development zone forever.”

A Svay Rieng province resident Va Sameth told The Post on Wednesday that he was happy when the government planted a large number of border markers. He requested that the border work be accelerated rapidly and definitively.

“I find that the planting of border markers now is very good. I’m happy because if one house has a proper fence, we can defend it.

“We are no longer afraid and worried about people around us invading our land. I encourage the government to achieve it soon because once it is done, our people can see that the borders are marked,” Rieng said.

Pisey said the government has a strong desire to complete the border affairs and wants to finalise them under Hun Sen’s leadership. The joint border committees, she said, will do what it takes to draw a map that matches the actual land and location.

“We cannot leave our country with no fences. We need to erect a fence and plant border markers. Our people want a reconciliatory and peaceful border,” she said.

Suos Yamy

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped