with alarm the article "Vietnam aims to lease land for rice crops"
(February 26, 2009), in which it was stated that Vietnam is planning to
lease land from the Cambodian government in the provinces contiguous
with Vietnam in order to plant rice for the purpose of combating
alleged rice smuggling from Cambodia. This is a dangerous project [that
is] very detrimental to Cambodian national interests for a number of
First, Vietnam has been encroaching on Cambodia's land
since the 17th century under a scheme known as nam tien, or "southward
march", and annexing the land that they occupied and populating it with
former soldiers and ex-convicts, as well as claiming land that used to
belong to Cambodia, such as the region known as Kampuchea Krom.
Second, there are many Cambodians mired in abject poverty who rely on land for their survival.
as pointed out in your article "The time of reckoning for Khmer Krom"
(February 22), Vietnam has been committing atrocities against the Khmer
Krom with help from the Hun Sen regime. This, in turn, shows that
Vietnam has not been a defender of Cambodian national interests.
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