The Vice Chairwoman of Cambodia Border Affairs Committee Koy Pisey yesterday defended her statement regarding “some tents” set up by Vietnamese soldiers along the border, saying the committee members have dedicated their lives to protect the Kingdom’s territory.
She was replying to criticisms by social media users as well as Um Sam An, the so-called director of the court-dissolved CNRP’s Border Affairs and Immigration Commission, after she was quoted by Radio France International (RFI) Khmer, as saying the issues were “trifling” as Cambodia and Vietnam can resolve bilateral without relying on the international community.
“Koy Pisey, deputy chairwoman of the Cambodian Border Committee, described the issue of Vietnamese soldiers setting up tents as trifling. Is Vietnam invading Cambodian territory a small matter?” Sam An said. “So what is a big thing for the Cambodian Border Committee?”
“[You] have already given land to Vietnam, you just give a little more to it. Is this all right?”
In her response yesterday, Pisey said her words were “exaggerated” by those who have a “habit of cheating” to serve their interests, causing confusion among the people.
“We, border affairs leaders, especially Samdech Techo [Prime Minister Hun Sen], have dedicated our lives to protect this land so far, so with every breath, I will never forget my duty to protect the integrity of the territory and not allow it to be invaded by foreigners. Cambodia does not encroach on other territories,” she said.
Pisey said the Ministry of Interior has been working on the tent issues and the two sides can hold talks bilaterally, without it being necessary for third-party intervention.
She said Cambodia had sent a diplomatic note through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Vietnam and Vietnam has said that after the COVID-19 is gone, they will remove the tents.
“I would like to inform you that the tents that Vietnam has set up in more than 40 places are in the area of disagreement on the border, which means that it is not Vietnamese land and it is also not yet fully Cambodian land. The two sides need to continue discussions to find common ground,” Pisey said.
“Therefore, those ill-intentioned persons do not just distort the things, they cause incitement,” she added. “It is not only you who loves the nation. We are all here to work hard to build the nation. Do not destroy the nation any more. You will not have a good destiny.”
The tent issues surfaced after Kandal provincial border police officers in April inspected the stretch near the border gates and found that Vietnamese soldiers had erected 31 tents along the disputed border with Vietnam’s An Giang province.
General Hou Sokun, National Police deputy chief and head of the Border Police Department, said Cambodian authorities found 256 tents set up by the Vietnamese along with the border areas between the two nations since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sak Setha, Interior Ministry’s secretary of state, has recently said the Vietnamese had erected 42 tents at an “undemarcated area” along the border between Mekong and Bassac rivers and as of this month, Vietnam had only removed eight of them.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May said the tents were set up along the border to “prevent and control cross-border travel” during the pandemic. It said when the pandemic comes to an end, the tents would be removed.
However, it said the temporary tents are located completely within the Vietnamese side which is in accordance with the factual management line measured and agreed by the Special Working Group of the Joint Commission on Land Border Demarcation”.