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Vietnam renews claim to Mondulkiri land

Le Hai Binh, spokesperson for the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry, talks to the media last year in Vietnam. On Monday Binh claimed h
Le Hai Binh, spokesperson for the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry, talks to the media last year in Vietnam. On Monday Binh claimed his country has full sovereignty of the disputed Dak Dam – Dak Huyt border region. AFP

Vietnam renews claim to Mondulkiri land

Vietnam and Cambodia are once again at loggerheads over contested borderland after a Vietnamese official on Monday claimed to have evidence of his country’s sovereignty over land in Mondulkiri province’s Dak Dam commune, a position that Cambodia has contested.

In a speech in Paris last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the 51-square-kilometre Dak Dam-Dak Huyt border region between Mondulkiri and Vietnam’s Dak Nong province belonged entirely to Cambodia, stressing that he would not give in to requests from Vietnam to share the land.

“They asked to share the land by giving us 40 per cent, while they are going to take 60 per cent, but I said that I need to take it all, because it is my ancestor’s land,” the premier said at the time.

But Le Hai Binh, spokesman of Vietnam’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, hit back in state media on Monday, claiming that his country has “full sovereignty of the border area” and has the documents and authority to seize control.

Cambodian Senior Minister on Border Affairs Va Kim Hong weighed in on the dispute yesterday, arguing that Cambodia’s claim to the land stemmed from the 1914 decision of the French governor general.

“The decision of the French governor general is law, because at that time there was no law to identify the borders of states in Indochina from France.

The French governor general made a decision at that time to follow the Dak Huot stream, so that is law”, he said.

“Other people have their own claim, but it doesn’t matter, because we have a law that France, who was the boss of the three countries, made.”

Kim Hong added that the government had no plans to meet with Vietnam about Dak Dam because it is an “old case”, and would only arrange a meeting if new disputes emerged.

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