Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dispute with Laos persists

Dispute with Laos persists

Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) shakes hands with Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith after a meeting last week in Phnom Penh. FACEBOOK
Prime Minister Hun Sen (right) shakes hands with Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith after a meeting last week in Phnom Penh. Facebook

Dispute with Laos persists

Laos and Cambodian soldiers remain “face to face” with each other in a disputed border region in Stung Treng province, a provincial military commander said yesterday, an assessment that appeared at odds with a recent statement by the Laos prime minister downplaying the standoff relayed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The area, in northern Siem Pang district, has been a source of friction between the two countries since February, when Lao troops crossed into Cambodia to halt military engineers building a border road they maintained was in undemarcated territory.

Work resumed on the road in March, though tensions in the area remained high, border policemen told The Post during a visit to the site in April. One patrolman recounted two incidents of standoffs between armed units.

Reached yesterday, Stung Treng Provincial Military Commander Svay Nhan said military engineers had ceased work about 10 days ago because of the arrival of rainy season, but forces from both sides remained in close proximity.

“Our border forces are still there . . . and there are Lao forces face-to-face [with our troops] about 30 metres away. Therefore we can say they are in confrontation with each other,” he said, estimating the number of Lao soldiers to be between 70 and 100.

Despite the friction on the border, including complaints by both sides prompted by new construction in undemarcated areas, national-level authorities have remained relatively silent on the matter.

According to a Facebook post by Hun Sen last week, his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith raised the issue of border conflict during a meeting between the pair on May 10, but only to dismiss it as a “rumour”.

“In the past there were rumours that there was conflict between Cambodia and Laos at the border. These are just rumours,” said Sisoulith, according to the post, which boasted of the countries’ good relations.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the

  • Soaring global fuel prices: an opportunity for Cambodia?

    Cambodia is feeling the squeeze from the soaring global coal and oil prices. Electricity du Cambodge (EDC)would certainly be hurting from this reality, and most likely re-assessing its plans to add more coal power stations. EDC buys half of Cambodia’s electricity from plants

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when