Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘No money’ for Vietnam border wall, Sokha says

‘No money’ for Vietnam border wall, Sokha says

Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha greets supporters at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district yesterday. Photo supplied
Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha greets supporters at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district yesterday. Photo supplied

‘No money’ for Vietnam border wall, Sokha says

Deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha said yesterday that the CNRP’s policy would be to take a leaf out of US president-elect Donald Trump’s book and build a wall along Cambodia’s 1,228-kilometre border with Vietnam – if only the country could afford it.

Trump – who, like the CNRP, has campaigned heavily against illegal immigration – has pledged to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the 3,201-kilometre US-Mexican border to make crossings harder, and insists Mexico itself will be made to pay for it.

Speaking at the CNRP’s headquarters, where he has been living since police attempted to arrest him in May, Sokha appeared to acknowledge it was unlikely Vietnam would pay for such a plan, so a CNRP government would instead just develop the border.

“The CNRP already has its policy. When we win the election and lead the country, we will protect our border,” Sokha said, explaining that larger population numbers along the border should help reduce illicit crossings and seizures of sovereign territory.

“We don’t have the money to build a wall like Mr Trump. We don’t have the money like the US. We don’t have the money to build a wall at the border. So what will we do? We will develop the border for citizens to live.

“One thing is to make a border belt. Secondly, we will organise to have markets, pagodas, schools, jobs and factories, and agriculture,” he added.

Over the past year, the government has attempted to clamp down on the sensitive topic of illegal immigration and border violations, deporting thousands of Vietnamese and banning the leasing of land along the border for Vietnamese farms.

Yet Sokha said nothing less than heavily developing border areas would work. “Just calling on people not to rent land to them is not effective,” he said.

An opposition senator and lawmaker are currently in jail on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s orders for crimes related to the CNRP’s campaigns on alleged Vietnamese border violations, with the party toning down its criticism last year after threats from the premier.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan – a US citizen and Trump supporter who also chastises the CNRP as being racist for their policies on Vietnam – called the idea for a border wall “a joke”.

“Sometimes they pretend like they are like the opposition in Burma, and now they are pretending to be Trump . . . It’s monkey see, monkey do,” he said. “We did not want to see separation like that . . . It is against the principle of ASEAN, because we are not prejudiced against anyone. Building walls inside of ASEAN is a joke.”

Additional reporting by Alex Willemyns

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,

  • South Korea’s Moon arrives in Kingdom for state visit

    South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife arrived in Phnom Penh on Thursday at the start of a three-day state visit to Cambodia to strengthen ties and further the friendship between the two countries. After arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport in the