Vietnam has closed four minor border checkpoints in Ratanakkiri province after Cambodian authorities disagreed on the location of three, it was revealed in a monthly National Police meeting yesterday.
National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith told reporters after the meeting that Ratanakkiri provincial authorities are discussing the issue with Vietnam’s Kon Tum provincial authorities.
He said the Vietnamese side was angry that Cambodia denied three out of the four border gates and so decided to close them all by fencing them off and digging ruts into the road leading to them.
Mr Chantharith noted that the dispute was not a major issue because it had not and will not affect the travel of Cambodians going to Vietnam.
“We are working on this issue to solve it,” he said. “But it is not a big problem for the Ratanakkiri provincial authority. This case was caused by a lack of understanding.”
According to a report by Ratanakkiri provincial police chief Nguon Koeun, the Vietnamese blocked the border gates by building fences on December 24 and 25.
“The closure of the above four checkpoints has affected the entry and exit of people at border station No. 505,” his report added.
The closures came after Ratanakkiri provincial authorities criticised the location of three of the gates, claiming they were too far away from villagers’ homes and hidden away in forests.
In July 2017, Cambodia and Vietnam inaugurated the sixth international border gate in Rattanakkiri province’s O’Yadav district bordering Vietnam’s Gai Lai province.
The border between Cambodia and Vietnam is 1,270 kilometres long, and both governments agreed in 2005 to open seven international border gates.
Mr Koeun also stated in his report: “This is the second time that Vietnamese border forces in Kon Tum province have blocked the border gate after they dug up the road at border post No. 4/2 on December 12.”