Minister of Interior Sar Kheng and Laotian Minister of Public Security Somkeo Silavong yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to increasing cooperation and security along their common border, despite recent standoffs between soldiers on each side due to a contentious road being built along the frontier.
Lao soldiers have attempted to stop Cambodian engineers from building the road through three undemarcated areas before soldiers on both sides decided to back down for the Khmer New Year holiday. Nonetheless, a military construction crew has continued to build the road.
Despite the backdrop of the border showdown, National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith played down recent events, saying the meeting is an annual event and that the road project did not come up.
“In short, we have evaluated that forces of the two countries, especially the police force, have cooperated well in keeping security and order along the border,” he said.
Chantharith said both sides had also exchanged information on cross-border crimes, including drug trafficking.
The apparent skirting of the road issue at the meeting by the two countries surprised one border police officer, who requested anonymity given that the confrontation is ongoing and that both sides are staging patrols along the border.
Stung Treng’s provincial military commander, Svay Nhan, however, maintained the situation along the border was calm.