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VN soldiers remove border tents in Kandal

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Vietnamese troops erected tents along a yet to be agreed border area in Kandal province. Police

VN soldiers remove border tents in Kandal

Vietnamese soldiers who erected 31 tents along an as yet agreed borderline in Kandal province removed them after Cambodia sent a diplomatic note to Vietnam.

Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophorn told The Post on Sunday that Vietnamese soldiers had erected the tents on the border in the Loeuk Dek and Koh Thom districts but have since removed them. “There is no dispute,” he said.

A letter from Vietnam’s An Giang provincial people’s committee chairman Nguyen Thanh Binh read that to respond to the complex developments of Covid-19, An Giang province had implemented measures to erect tents along the border to prevent illegal crossings.

The letter said the tents had only been erected temporarily and border police forces in Kandal province had been informed about the matter.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Koy Kuong said on Sunday that it had sent a diplomatic note to the Vietnamese on May 13 confirming that the presence of Vietnamese soldiers along an as yet agreed-upon border had violated a joint declaration from January 17, 1995, and a 2005 treaty and border agreement.

He said the note requested that the Vietnamese remove the tents, withdraw military forces from the location, put an abrupt end to actions and restore geography at all the areas to their original state until a joint border committee of the two countries defines a borderline in the area.

“[Cambodia] has requested that Vietnam ensure such actions will not happen in the future to maintain good neighbourliness, existing traditional friendship and comprehensive collaborations between two countries,” the note read.

Royal Academy of Cambodia president Sok Touch on Sunday said the Cambodia-Vietnam border in Kandal province spanned 29km from Ka’am Samnor commune in Loeuk Dek district.

Another 7km section spans from Chrey Thom village in Koh Thom district. These areas have many border markers left over from the French era.

“The Vietnamese are just making excuses for what they’re doing here. [We] agreed on these areas. Why didn’t Vietnam erect the tents before? Second, Vietnam closed the border unilaterally in response to Covid-19. No one’s crossing into Vietnam from Cambodia,” Touch said.

He said Cambodians don’t rely on the area for their livelihood and the areas have only [Cambodian] police forces and soldiers.

National border committee chairman Var Kim Hong told The Post on Sunday that erecting the tents along an as yet agreed upon border was not the correct thing to do.

He said Cambodia has erected 84 per cent of border markers while remaining points were delayed due to disagreements. The remaining borders with Vietnam are in Mondulkiri, Tbong Khmum, Takeo, Kampot and Kandal provinces.

Kim Hong said the problems that posed obstacles to establishing border markers with Vietnam were attributed to technical and legal issues.

“Technical issues stem from the maps we use. Many are official, but are not labelled by year. Which maps are we supposed to use? The committee has at least 10 and must decide which of them is the right one to use and best responds to the interests of our country,” he said.

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