Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thailand puts off approval of border talks

Thailand puts off approval of border talks

Thailand puts off approval of border talks

THE Thai government has delayed a parliamentary session to approve the latest round of border demarcation agreements with Cambodia, a move Cambodian officials said was part of a long-running strategy of putting off negotiations.

A report from Thai state media yesterday said a parliamentary vote to approve the three most recent sessions of Thailand and Cambodia’s Joint Border Committee, established under a 2000 Memorandum of Understanding, had been postponed because the legislature’s agenda was already full. Border demarcation talks through the JBC have been stalled since April of last year pending Thai parliament approval of the latest negotiations.

“This is not a surprise to me,” said senior minister Var Kimhong, Cambodia’s chief border negotiator. “I don’t really care about this matter anymore because I’ve learned that this is the habit of the Thai party.”

Cambodia called for assistance from the UN and ASEAN last week in reviving the stalled border negotiations with Thailand, with Prime Minister Hun Sen warning that the current stalemate could lead to “bloodshed”. Thai officials have said they are opposed to negotiations in a multilateral forum and prefer the bilateral JBC.

Tension has been high between the two countries since the conclusion earlier this month of a UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting at which Cambodian representatives submitted a management plan for Preah Vihear temple, inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2008. The management plan will be discussed at a meeting of the committee in Bahrain next year.

Thai officials who have supported further border negotiations have received criticism from the members of the ultranationalist People’s Alliance for Democracy, also known as the Yellow Shirts, which charges that the JBC meetings could lead to the “loss” of Thai territories along the border.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said yesterday that if Thai officials were truly committed to bilateral talks, they would move more quickly to secure parliamentary approval of the JBC negotiations.

“Our patience with bilateral talks has ended, so we are seeking a multilateral way,” Koy Kuong said.

“Thailand insists on bilateral talks, but the documents have yet to be processed,” he said.

“They cannot use the JBC to play with Cambodia in this way.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman