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Minister lashes out at critics of VN border map

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Defence minister Tea Banh said those who have criticised the map will be held legally accountable. Hean Rangsey

Minister lashes out at critics of VN border map

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh warned on Thursday he will not forgive those who have criticised the Vietnamese border map.

Critics have claimed the production of a 1/25,000-scale map contributed to a loss of Cambodian land.

At Thursday’s handover ceremony of the 1/25,000-scale map of Cambodia-Vietnam to 35 relevant ministries and institutions at the Peace Place, the minister said the government had carried out the best historical work and the 1/25,000-scale map is a huge success for Cambodia.

“I cannot forgive some people who alleged that the production and the printing of this 1/25,000-scale map contributed to the loss of land. It is for the success of the country that we have done it with difficulty,” he said.

He said those who have criticised the map will be held legally accountable.

The Cambodia Border Affairs Committee met on August 1 to discuss the work with the Vietnamese side at the Moc Bai International Checkpoint in Tay Ninh province. Both sides exchanged the agreed-upon map, which is 84 per cent complete.

The exchange of the map came after Prime Minister Hun Sen and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed an agreement recognising border poles of the two countries.

Banh called the map true and unprecedented and said it will hang at the UN.

“We planted poles to mark the border as we have never done before. But now we did it. We are very proud to print and hand it over to ministries and institutions for use,” he said.

Banh said Cambodia intends to finish the job soon.

On Tuesday, Hun Sen instructed Var Kimhong, the senior minister in charge of border affairs, to meet residents in Tbong Khmum province along the Vietnamese border who claim Cambodia had lost land to the neighbouring country.

He told the senior minister to be open with the public on border demarcation with Vietnam.

Kimhong said on Thursday that he would meet with residents in the province. But before going there, he requested the Tbong Khmum provincial governor to take an accurate headcount of residents who had lost their land.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun told The Post on Thursday that the Cambodian Constitution, especially Article 35, stipulated about protecting and providing opportunities for citizens to express their views.

“All citizens have the right to ask questions and express their views and worries in a way they see fit. The authorities should not punish them or silence the rights and freedoms of citizens.

“Citizens should be well informed. The authorities should solve the problem transparently and correctly so that citizens might accept the best solution,” he said.

Police arrested Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun last month. He is being held in pre-trial detention on charges of incitement and causing social unrest.

The arrest was made after he met residents in Trapeang Phlong commune in Tbong Khmum province who claim Cambodia had lost land to Vietnam.

The Joint Border Affairs Committee denied the claims and regarded it as incitement and misleading the public and the international community.

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