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Tea Banh lauds security situation on Thai border

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Defence Minister General Tea Banh (right) and his Thai counterpart General Prawit Wongsuwan. Hong Menea

Tea Banh lauds security situation on Thai border

Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that the security situation on the Cambodian-Thai border is healthy, with both sides agreeing to maintain peace and stability along the frontier. Negotiations, he said, are ongoing to peacefully resolve border disputes.

The 14th Cambodia-Thailand General Border Committee (GBC) meeting, held in Phnom Penh over Wednesday and Thursday, was chaired by Banh and attended by Thailand’s Minister of National Defence Prawit Wongsuwan.

The annual meeting bolsters the border cooperation agreement between the two countries and aims to promote cooperation, peace and security along the border, and to strengthen relations between the military and security forces.

“The meeting went smoothly, and we think it is special because we have reviewed and updated the border situation and made good progress on this and in other areas,” Banh told journalists.

He said that Cambodia and Thailand are trying to resolve the remaining issues, and working groups on both sides are actively seeking to improve the bilateral relationship.

“We have done very well because we have thoroughly checked both land and maritime borders."

“We found cooperation is good, especially relations between border units because they clearly understand the principles the Cambodia-Thailand General Border Committee stipulated,” he said.

According to a joint statement issued after the event, the GBC made recommendations to preserve the existing good relationship and cooperation between both armies and at all levels, in order to promote peace, stability and security along the border.

The statement said both parties welcomed progress on border cooperation and reviewed the implementation of guidelines issued by the 13th GBC Meeting in March last year, including cooperation on border crossings, migrant workers and the prevention and interception of drug trafficking.

It also reviewed the promotion of cooperation between the Cambodian army and Thai security units, agricultural concerns, public health, education, religion and culture.

“Both sides were urged to continue carrying out their obligation to maintain peace and stability along the border in accordance with the principles and measures which have been determined in this 14th meeting,” the statement said.

‘Closer and closer’

Prime Minister Hun Sen also met with Wongsuwan and both were delighted with the successful meeting.

Hun Sen wrote on his official Facebook page: “Samdech Techo Hun Sen expresses his gratitude to Prawit Wongsuwan, who had come to Cambodia to see the country’s progress and visited the Win-Win Monument.

“[We both] support the recent round of talks between [Cambodia and Thailand] . . . The committees of the two countries have a vital role to play in promoting peace and stability on the border, which is the most important factor to promote tourism and good interpersonal relationships. Our two countries are becoming closer and closer.”

Koy Pisey, vice-president of the Kingdom’s border committee, said Cambodia and Thailand had found 73 border posts that were put in place in the colonial era between 1919 and 1920.

“In the future, we will plant more border posts, because we share 800km of land border with Thailand and we have only 73 posts. We need to plant more and fix the broken ones,” she said.

She said that of the 73 posts, only 28 had not yet been approved, and both sides continued to negotiate peacefully.

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, thought that security along Cambodia-Thailand border was improving and there would be no problems because both countries negotiated peacefully.

“When problems happen, we resolve them peacefully based on the laws and agreements both countries have. Currently, it is good,” he said.

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