The chairman of the Cambodian Border Affairs Committee Var Kimhong said on Tuesday that Vietnam does not need to ask Cambodian officials to join in border inspections of Vietnamese campsites because Cambodia had already diplomatically responded to the issue.
“We have our officials guarding each of the coordinates already. If Vietnam wants to inspect and ask if their campsite locations are alright, they can. If the locations are unapproved, the tents should be removed.
“I don’t know why they want Cambodia to get involved. It is just a waste of time because we have already answered their questions through diplomatic means,” he said.
Kimhong said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had already responded to Vietnamese queries about the issue and they should not ask for anything else from Cambodia.
He suggested Kandal provincial authorities investigate the situation further to see if the Vietnamese officials had removed their tents.
Provincial governor Kong Sophorn said on Tuesday that he had not yet seen the official letter from Vietnam asking for Cambodian assistance, but he was alerted to it by the media.
Sophorn said the work must be decided by the Border Affairs Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Interior.
He said if any of these institutions offered directives, he would comply and cooperate with Vietnamese officials.
“If we talk about country-to-country discussions, we have to ask for advice from the Border Affairs Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Interior. Then I can take the executive order to work with Vietnam,” he said.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said on Tuesday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had been using diplomacy with positive effects to resolve the border issue.
But Siphan said Vietnamese authorities had yet to agree to a resolution. “We are talking to the Vietnamese side to plan a diplomatic arrangement. We do not take this as a conflict between our nations as we try to handle it through discussions,” he said.
Vietnam’s ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh on Tuesday said that An Giang provincial authorities have submitted a letter to Cambodian border police officials inviting Kandal provincial authorities to inspect the border and the campsites in question.
He said if provincial authorities are still not sure about the exact location of the tents, they should join An Giang provincial authorities to inspect the area together.
Minh said: “We have informed the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs already and if the Kandal provincial authorities want to join the inspection, please inform the An Giang provincial authorities three days before the planned inspection. Cambodia and Vietnam are close friends and neighbours.”