03 Oct 06
By Sar Botum Moneakseka Khmer
Translated from Khmer
After returning to Cambodia yesterday morning, opposition leader Sam Rainsy called the installation of the border markers conducted according to the bilateral Cambodian-Vietnamese border agreement at the end of last month an act that ran counter to the national interests.
Sam Rainsy said, "I still do not think it is a good act conforming to our national interests, because there is no guarantee that the territorial integrity of our country has been properly protected."
Also yesterday, in describing his trip abroad to reporters, Sam Rainsy said he went to a number of European countries to visit his party members and also to open a few offices there. At the same time, Sam Rainsy disclosed that he met with his publisher and talked about publishing a book on his biography and his views on the situation in Cambodia.
Nevertheless, regarding the installation of the border markers, Sam Rainsy said, "I want to know and to hear about it because, anyway, it concerns our country."
It should be noted that based on the supplementary convention to the controversial 1985 state border treaty, Cambodia and Vietnam started planting their first border markers in Cambodia at the Bavet international gate of Svay Rieng province and in Vietnam at the Mok Bai pass of Tay Ninh province on Wednesday 27 September.
The inauguration ceremony attended by Hun Sen and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung proceeded in an extremely unpleasant and doleful atmosphere. Besides a handful of laughing and cheering Cambodian People's Party [CPP] and Vietnamese leaders, there was no participation as witnesses from the representatives of any other Cambodian political parties, civil society officials, or diplomatic envoys.
Nguyen Tan Dung, in his jovial speech, said that he has long waited for this opportunity in order to put an end to disputes and suspicions along the border of the two countries.
According to Va Kim Hong's hand-written report, the border markers will be planted all along the 1,270-km Cambodian-Vietnamese land border. Of a total of 353 border markers to be planted, some are made entirely of granite and others a mixture of granite debris and special cement.
The process of border marker installation will be checked against the maps the two countries have re-copied, which are the 1/1,000,000 SZI map attached to the 1985 state border treaty and the 1/50,000 UTM map also attached to the same 1985 treaty.
The border marker installation started after the National Assembly members from the CPP and the FUNCINPEC [National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia] Party raised their hands to approve the convention supplemental to the 1985 state border treaty in October 2005.
A number of Cambodian political personalities as well as civil society representatives said that the start of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border marker installation would seriously harm Cambodia's national interests. They noted that the Cambodian maps of the 1960s and 70s were fully recognized as having all the right characteristics by many countries as well as the United Nations, including the leaders of North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
The current process of installing the border makers between Cambodia and Vietnam, however, is conducted on the basis of the newly modified maps attached to the 1985 treaty that is full of irregularities.
Concerning this border marker installation, Kong Korm, vice president of the Sam Rainsy Party [SRP], pointed out that it would make Cambodia lose its sovereignty, integrity, and independence, because in 1985 Cambodia was controlled by Vietnam.
As for Yim Sovann, SRP parliamentarian for the Phnom Penh constituency and chairman of the National Assembly's 4th Commission, he described the start of the border marker installation as a demise of Cambodia's right to reclaim the territory it recently lost to Vietnamese encroachments.
Nevertheless, this SRP parliamentarian saved the Cambodian people from losing all hope by assuring them that if the SRP wins the elections, the SRP will review all treaties deemed detrimental to Cambodia's interests.
At the same time, Cambodians throughout the country, especially those living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, called the day Hun Sen and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung joyfully celebrated the start of the border marker installation a day of mourning for the Cambodian people, a day the Cambodian people knew that many additional square kilometers of their territory were snipped away from the map of Cambodia.