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Gen Banh visits the border to boost ties with Thailand

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times Share:
General Tea Banh leads senior military officers to inspect the security situation along theThai border. MoD

Defence Minister General Tea Banh visited two provinces in the northwest last week to inspect troops and check the security situation along Cambodia-Thai border.

Gen Banh visited the border in Pailin province on Tuesday and Oddar Meanchey province on Friday.

He also met with Thai military officers near the border, according to his Facebook post.

Gen Banh’s border visit came after General Ith Sarath, RCAF chief of joint staff, made a trip to the Thailand border.

According to an RCAF statement issued yesterday, Gen Sarath inspected the security situation and border poles along Dangrek mountain in Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces.

“General Ith Sarath called on all armed forces to protect the area they are manning and foster close cooperation with neighbouring country authorities to protect the peace along the border and development,” the statement said. “If they encounter trouble, they need to use all means to solve the issues peacefully.”

“They need to pay attention to protect sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Gen Sarath said in the statement.

Major General Thong Solimo, spokesman for RCAF’s General Command Headquarters, confirmed Gen Banh and Gen Sarath visited the border but refused to reveal details.

Last month, the Interior Ministry’s Border Police Protection Unit thwarted Thai soldiers trying to erect barbed wire along the border of the white zone area, part of Oddar Meanchey province that both Cambodia and Thailand have yet to reach an agreement regarding demarcation.

A recent Interior Ministry security report said the situation along the border remains an issue, especially along the Thai border.

“Security along the border in 2019 was better although we had some incidents caused by the neighbouring countries,” the report said, adding Cambodian migrant workers were still shot and killed for illegally crossing the border, while roads were illegally built and bridges allegedly built close to the border poles.

To solve incidents along the border, Cambodian authorities held 445 meetings with Thai counterpart, 303 with Vietnamese and 22  with Lao authorities.

“However, the National Police forces have closely cooperated with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, sub-national authorities and other relevant officials in efforts to solve  problems peacefully through meetings between our authorities and neighbouring countries’ forces,” it said.

Kin Phea, director-general of the Institute of International Relations at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said yesterday the Kingdom’s border issue with its neighbouring countries has been sensitive for years.

He said Cambodia’s borders with Vietnam and Laos were politicised by a Cambodian opposition group, while its border with Thailand was used by the Thais to internationalise their domestic conflicts.

“Border demarcation with Vietnam and Laos has been made by Cambodian government based on French colony’s legacy, history and national and international instruments to have a peaceful and cooperative border where peoples can meet and exchange goods and services,” Mr Phea said.

He said that it is very complicated to deal with border issues with Thailand.

He said to solve border issues, concerned parties have to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.


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