Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday reiterated a threat that anyone who accuses the government of using fake maps to demarcate the border with Vietnam will face swift legal action.
Launching the 2015-2025 Cambodian Industrial Development Policy at the Council of Ministers yesterday, the premier said he was losing patience with such accusations – previously levelled by some opposition lawmakers.
He said the government’s 26 charts had been approved by the parliament and King and matched 18 maps recently loaned by the United Nations, affirming their legitimacy.
“They said that [these maps] have not been made official yet, but I would like to confirm the official maps are here [at the Council of Ministers], the 26 pieces [of maps] are here and the law allows [us] to use them,” Hun Sen said.
“Now try continuing,” he said, in a veiled dig at the opposition.
“Whoever dares to use the language of ‘fake maps’ will face legal action urgently. There will be no tolerance and we will not waste time.”
Hun Sen’s first threat of legal action followed a ceremony last week in which the UN maps were overlaid with the government’s set. Senior official on border affairs Va Kimhong said the sets matched.
Yesterday, the UN maps, among several maps requested from abroad by Hun Sen, were returned in a ceremony at the Council of Ministers.
After signing a document with the acting UN library director indicating the maps’ return, foreign minister Hor Namhong also warned the opposition about the issue.
“I hope that you will stop using the border issues for political propaganda in order to gain votes from the Cambodian people,” he said.
Namhong said maps requested from France will arrive soon. A request to Britain was unsuccessful, while the United States says it is still looking.
Responding yesterday, Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Ou Chanrith said the accusation was the opinion of individuals, not the party, adding that the government’s past unwillingness to discuss the Vietnam border issue had spurred criticism.
“Because the government lacked transparency, people and some politicians developed suspicions,” Chanrith said.