Govt says Vietnam makes concessions after border talks

Govt says Vietnam makes concessions after border talks

After three days of bilateral talks, Vietnam has agreed to heed Cambodia’s recent protests over border encroachment, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The announcement, made yesterday, followed Thursday’s release of a joint statement at the conclusion of a Joint Border Committee Meeting in Phnom Penh.

The statement included few details and avoided references to recent tensions, only saying the demarcation process was more than 80 per cent complete.

However, the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday divulged elements of the outcome, which appeared to contain concessions by Hanoi.

Responding to concerns levelled at the meeting by Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Long Visal, Vietnam has agreed to fill in three of eight ponds highlighted as alleged encroachment in Ratanakkiri’s O’Yadav district, the statement says.

A joint delegation will inspect the location of the other five, although it was noted two were old ponds.

According to the statement, Vietnam has also agreed to halt construction of a military post near Kandal province’s Koh Thom district and sections of road in Svay Rieng’s Kampong Ro and Chantrea districts.

Post Weekend was unable to reach the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh for comment yesterday.

The ponds, military post and roads were among examples of territorial violations highlighted by the Cambodia National Rescue Party during recent trips to inspect the border which have fuelled tensions around the sensitive issue.

Yesterday, CNRP lawmaker Um Sam An, who led a recent “inspection” that ended in a brawl with waiting Vietnamese, welcomed the news but cast doubt on Vietnam’s willingness to cooperate, saying his visits to the sites revealed work continued.

“The yuon have never accepted they encroach on Cambodian land, but their actions show they continue to do it forever,” Sam An said, using a term for Vietnamese many consider derogatory.

Speaking yesterday, Koy Pisey, deputy head of Cambodia’s border committee, said the next round of bilateral talks on the border would be held next month in Vietnam.

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