Cambodia and Vietnam have largely completed border demarcation in Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces at locations agreed by the two parties. But disputed areas were left untouched pending France’s assistance, according to border committee officials.
“We have a mission to protect you. No matter what obstacle [came in our way], we had to achieve it. Congratulations on completing the Cambodia-Vietnam border demarcation in Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri on the agreed zones,” Koy Pisey, vice-president of the Kingdom’s border committee, wrote on her official Facebook page.
“So proud of our teams for the hard work. You are the best.”
Border committee chairman Var Kim Hong told The Post on Sunday that 84 per cent of the border demarcation with Vietnam had been completed, while the remaining 16 per cent will be decided with French assistance.
Kim Hong declined to provide further details, referring The Post to Pisey’s account of the agreement.
“Koy Pisey already made it clear in her Facebook post. She said we had completed the demarcation in two provinces, Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri, on the zones agreed by both sides."
“Some commentators like Um Sam An were ignorant, claiming that Dak Dam and Dak Hout were ceded to Vietnam. We did not agree on those,” he said, referring to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker.
Sam An was arrested in April 2016 for Facebook posts accusing the government of using incorrect border maps during negotiations with Vietnam.
Last year, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after his parliamentary immunity was stripped on grounds that he had been caught “in the act”, even though the Facebook posts were months old.
Sam An, who holds both American and Cambodian citizenships, received a Royal Pardon in August this year and has since moved to the US.
Pisey declined further comment on Sunday.
In November 2016, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart agreed to request France’s assistance to convert existing maps from a scale of 1:100,000 to a more detailed 1:50,000.
Kim Hong said that France had welcomed the request but asked both sides to first reach a consensus before proceeding.
“They largely agreed but we have to prepare technical aspects first because this is the part that we [Cambodia and Vietnam] did not agree with each other.
“So what we are doing is not ceding the land [to Vietnam] as claimed [by critics]. We did not have agreement on this part, so we halted it. We can’t just do it carelessly,” he said.
Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch said there are several places on the border that Cambodia and Vietnam have not agreed to.
They include border poles number 55 to 60 and some areas in Paknhai commune of Ratanakkiri province’s O’Yadav district, where Vietnamese nationals have dug several ponds over the past few years.
He said Cambodia will demarcate a total of 314 border poles with Vietnam over a distance of 1,270km.
Romas Chhvat, a villager in Paknhai commune’s Lom village, said on Sunday that there is no border demarcation on the locations where Vietnamese nationals dug nine ponds over the past few years. He said the Vietnamese were still using the ponds for their coffee and pepper farms.
“Vietnamese people plant pepper and coffee. I haven’t seen any border poles there,” he said.