Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Officials reject Thai border market claim

Officials reject Thai border market claim

Officials reject Thai border market claim


Government disputes Thai argument that planned market reconstruction violates bilateral agreements.

CAMBODIAN officials have rejected Thai government claims that the reconstruction of a market at the foot of Preah Vihear temple violates a border agreement signed by the two countries, saying the project has nothing to do with the continuing standoff over contested territory.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said that the reconstruction of the market - which Cambodia says was destroyed by Thai rocket fire during border clashes in April - was merely intended to provide housing to 319 vendor families made homeless by the incident.

"Thailand's claims are groundless," he said Monday.

"They are only trying to disturb Cambodia."

On Thursday, Thailand's border communication office wrote to its Cambodian counterpart, claiming that the construction of new stalls at the market violated a memorandum of understanding on border demarcation signed between the two countries in 2000.

"The border communication team of Region 1 would like to inform you that the above action is in violation of the joint MoU on inspection and border demarcation," the letter stated.

Cambodia and Thailand have never fully demarcated their 805-kilometre shared border.

Under construction
Sar Thavy, Preah Vihear deputy governor and a member of the market construction commission, said Monday that several stalls had already been rebuilt, and that the all construction activities were taking place on Cambodian soil.

"We have to rebuild those stalls because [the market] has been on that site for many years," he said.

"If Thailand complains about our reconstruction, it is their problem."

He added that construction workers were hurriedly building stands in an attempt to finish the project as soon as possible.

In May, Cambodia officially requested US$2.1 million in compensation for the damage at the market, but so far there has been no response from Bangkok.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that Thailand had not yet sent a formal diplomatic note protesting the reconstruction, but added that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong was set to leave for Bangkok today for a meeting of the Joint Border Commission, set up to negotiate border issues.

Var Kimhong, Cambodia's top border negotiator, could not be reached for comment Monday.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,