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KRP initiates petition on ownership of VN island

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A beach on Phu Quoc island is shown. The Khmer Rise Party has started collecting thumbprints on a petition it says will push the government to renegotiate ownership of the island. afp

KRP initiates petition on ownership of VN island

Four days after the national elections, the Khmer Rise Party (KRP) has spearheaded a petition to the Constitutional Council, requesting that it revises a treaty to push the government to negotiate with Vietnam for the handover of Phu Quoc island, known in Khmer as Koh Trol.

KRP president Prum Piseth told The Post on Thursday that a major piece of the party’s platform involved retrieving the territory from Vietnamese control.

He claimed the party would set out to collect 50,000 thumbprints on the petition and ask the council to nullify a 2005 territorial treaty.

“Only the Constitutional Council has the power to deny and nullify various laws or treaties to conform to our constitution."

“If we send the petition, either the Constitutional Council will accept or deny it ... it will show clearly whether this government or parliament is willing to serve the people,” Piseth said.

‘Wave of politics’

However, Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch considered the thumbprint campaign to be purely political as the island wasn’t lost during the current government, but rather, during the French colonial period.

“I think this is a wave of politics,” Sok Touch said, warning that “if I was the government, I would throw [Piseth] into jail right away”.

“I know this matter very well ... the governments of the two countries have agreed to use the 1933-1953 map [demarcating borders],” he said.

Touch expressed regret that the island was so close to Cambodia, yet remained under Vietnamese control.

“My tears also drop when a thing is near to us but it’s gone. This is a historical matter, something that’s left for the next generation,” he said.

Political analyst Meas Ny said it was not good to ignite territorial issues. “I admire the conscience and will ... But we know that the government is not able to work on this matter.”

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