GDP Urges Government to Show Border Agreement With Vietnam

3 min read
A Grassroots Democratic Party election campaign rally in July 2018 (file photo)

UPDATED 2:07 p.m. — The minor Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) has urged the government to reveal the border agreement that Prime Minister Hun Sen signed with his Vietnamese counterpart last week, requesting greater transparency about the demarcation process.

The government should publicly show documents related to border issues to avoid any doubts over the transparency of controversial border marking between Cambodia and Vietnam, GDP spokeswoman Long Kanha said on Tuesday.

“We are in doubt so we maintain our position that we want the government to show all documents that the government had signed with Vietnam,” Kanha said.

“If the government doesn’t show [the documents] it means that the government is hiding what it has done from its own people and is also destroying our territorial integrity,” she claimed.

During a visit to Vietnam last week, Hun Sen and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Saturday signed two documents on border issues, including a supplementary treaty to 1985 and 2005 treaties on national boundary delimitation, and a protocol on demarcation and border marker planting, according to a joint statement.

The signings marked a “historical milestone in the process of land border settlement between the two countries,” with about 84 percent of their 1,270-km shared border now demarcated, the statement said.

Cambodia and Vietnam agreed to post 314 border markers to establish the border between the two countries and the remaining 16 percent would be marked once France provided a copied map which had been converted from a Bonne map at a scale of 1/100,000 to 1/50,000 in accordance with the agreement between the two neighboring nations.

In a statement on Monday, the GDP expressed its concerns over the signing of the two border documents, noting that Cambodia does not have an independent expert committee working on border issues, history, law and demography, and that the party did not know whether Cambodia lost or Vietnam gained land through the signing of the agreements.

“GDP sees that within the political situation in which Cambodia does not yet have national unity and within the time that the National Assembly is ruled by a single party, the Assembly of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia should not ratify a treaty or agreement on border issues,” GDP said in the statement.

The ruling CPP won all 125 parliamentary seats in the July 2018 election in which the main opposition CNRP was banned from participating after it was dissolved by court order in 2017.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan on Tuesday declined to show the documents as demanded by the GDP and urged the minor political party to do its own research about the border with Vietnam.

“That was already talked about. Let them look at why [border demarcation] has been agreed,” Siphan said, adding that Hun Sen and documents kept at the Council of Ministers had explained why the government had agreed on the new border treaty.

“Let them do research. If they are politicians, political parties, and do not research, don’t bother! Just use one loudspeaker and curse others, that is it,” Siphan added.

Va Kim Hong, head of the government’s border committee, said detractors should show his committee proper evidence if they believed there were any problems with the way the border was marked.

“In regards to the demarcation, we don’t just claim what we have done is 100 percent good. But what we have done today, we think we have done 100 percent right,” Kim Hong said.

“I am open. Just tell me what [land] has been lost,” he said. “I will look for the sources to see whether [land] was really lost or not.”

“The opposition party just slanders the government. The same organizations that are against us, they just speak frivolously,” he added.

Correction: The article originally misrepresented a statement from Va Kim Hong by saying that he did not claim border demarcation was always done perfectly between Cambodia and Vietnam. In fact, he said: “In regards to the demarcation, we don’t just claim what we have done is 100 percent good. But what we have done today, we think we have done 100 percent right.” The article has been updated with this quote.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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