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Public forum idea for border work transparency shot down

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Sok Touch, president of RAC. KT/Pann Rachana

Sok Touch, president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday shot down a suggestion that the government should hold public forums to ensure transparency as it demarcates the border with Vietnam.

The suggestion came from Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, who on Saturday said Mr Touch, who serves the government as a border expert, and Var Kimhong, chairman of the Cambodia Border Affairs, should clarify issues over demarcated border posts along the Cambodia-Vietnam border.

Mr Touch yesterday said the government had already explained enough about the border with Vietnam and slammed Mr Kol.

“He just wants to make himself famous. In fact, the Royal Academy of Cambodia has already explained enough about border demarcation,” he said, adding the RAC obtained all map references from the United Nations, France and the former opposition CNRP.

“We have also shown a 1985 supplementary treaty and 2005 agreement on border demarcation with Vietnam,” Mr Touch said. “The government is doing it for the sake of the whole of society. It does not do it for the sake of one person.”

Mr Kimhong declined to comment yesterday.

“I have not seen [the request] so I do not have any comment,” Mr Kimhong said.

King Norodom Sihamoni signed off on the supplementary treaty on December 20.

In October, Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed two legal documents—a document to support a 1985 supplemental protocol to recognise the demarcations as legal documents.

Mr Hun Sen and Mr Nguyen also signed 84 percent of border demarcation work completed between the two nations since 2005.

Mr Kol said that public forums should be held to ensure the border demarcation was transparent.

“People want the explanation and verification about border demarcations because the territory is very important for the national interest,” Mr Kol said.

“Public forums should be held among concerned stakeholders and citizens living near the border markers and it is a way to clear doubts and promote transparency because Cambodian citizens deserve to know it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Joint Border Affairs Committee on Friday issued a statement dismissing the 78th border marker created on Google Map and disseminated on Facebook, saying it intended to deceive the public.

The committee said that official border post 78 is a type of twin border marker, including pole 78 (1), located on the west of the Cham river in the territory of Cambodia in Chorm Kravean commune in Tboung Khmum province’s Memot district and pole 78 (2) located on the east of the Cham river on the Vietnamese territory in Binh Phuoc province’s Loc Ninh district.

It noted that the fake border marker created on Google Map was 5km off from the official one, which was jointly demarcated by both Cambodia and Vietnam.

“The creation of fake border marker happened after some opposition groups alleged the government cut land to Vietnam under the agreement on October 5,” it said. “There was no demarcation of five kilometres inside the Cambodian territory as written on the Facebook user Sila Chey.”

Koy Pisey, CBAC deputy chairwoman, on Friday appealed to all people not to fall prey to distorted information created by ill-intended groups.

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