Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM responds to opposition border claims

PM responds to opposition border claims

PM responds to opposition border claims

PRIME Minister Hun Sen has rejected opposition claims that Vietnam has encroached on Cambodian territory, saying farmers along the border have not lost any land.

In a letter dated November 8 in response to questions from Sam Rainsy Party lawmakers, Hun Sen said the process of demarcation was ongoing and depended on bilateral agreement.

“There are not any farmers who have lost their farmland, so the question raised is accusatory without basis,” Hun Sen said, adding that the motive behind the SRP allegations was “to attack the government for political benefit and to cause enmity between both countries, Cambodia and Vietnam”.

One border post in particular –  number 185 – has yet to be officially placed, so both Cambodian and Vietnamese farmers can work the land, Hun Sen said.

SRP head Sam Rainsy has been sentenced to a total of 12 years in jail in connection with claims that Vietnam has encroached into parts of Svay Rieng province near post 185. He is currently living in self-exile.

Hun Sen’s comments come just ahead of a visit from Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who arrives today for several regional meetings.

Sam Rainsy said the fact that post 185 had not been officially placed vindicated his original claims. “This is a recognition that the land belongs to the Cambodian farmers”, he said by phone from Paris.

The opposition leader also demanded that the government issue land titles to two villagers who received one-year jail terms in connection with his border protest, saying he would return to face his jail term if this condition was met.

“It depends on the Cambodian government – if they want to get hold of me, give the land deeds to the farmers”, he said. “I am prepared to go back to Cambodia any time.”

Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap said the SRP’s trivial claims made Cambodia look foolish.

Vietnam “must think we have brain problems when issues like this are raised”, he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEBASTIAN STRANGIO

MOST VIEWED

  • Breaking: US House passes 'Cambodia Democracy Act'

    The US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on Monday, passed the “HR 526 Cambodia Democracy Act”, also known as the Cambodia Democracy Act of 2019. If signed off by the president, the bill will allow two major sets of action to be taken against high-ranking Cambodian

  • ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

    Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them. Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half

  • Breaking: Rubbish found packed inside 83 containers at S'ville port

    Eighty-three containers packed with rubbish were broken open at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port by joint authorities on Tuesday. The origin of the containers has yet to be ascertained, Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra said. Pheaktra, who is also the ministry’s secretary of state, said

  • Some jobs off limits to foreigners from August

    Beginning from the second week of August, foreigners will be banned from driving taxis and tuk-tuks, as well as being motorcycle delivery drivers, street food vendors, hairdressers and product distributors among other lower-income jobs. Some white-collar jobs such as the head of human resources will