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Vietnamese troops start removing tents at disputed border stretch

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Border police officers stand away from the tents set up by the Vietnamese. Police

Vietnamese soldiers have already started dismantling tents they set up at a disputed border stretch in Kandal province’s Koh Thom district, provincial governor Kong Sophorn said yesterday.

“They are removing the tents from areas where both sides have not yet reached an agreement for demarcation of border posts,” he said. “There was no tension after we told them about our concerns that they set up the tents without informing us.”

Last month, Kandal provincial police officers inspected the stretch near the border gate which had recently been closed to prohibit the entry of people amid the virus pandemic.

During the inspection, they found that Vietnamese soldiers had erected tents in nine locations along the disputed border stretch in Koh Thom district’s Dambok Chev station, which is situated next to Vietnam’s An Giang province.

Lieutenant General Leang Phearom, director of the Border Protection Police Department in the Interior Ministry, said yesterday that the National Police on Monday decided to increase the number of officers patrolling borders in order to prevent any repeat of such an incursion.

“The increase in police forces on patrol is not only in Kandal province but for all provinces along the Kingdom’s borders,” he said, adding more than 20 joint forces will be on patrol all day and night.

Lt-Gen Phearom said the Vietnam side had said they set up tents in the disputed area to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and prevent people from crossing the border.

He said based on an agreement between the two countries, Vietnam has to inform Cambodia about what they plan to do but it was not done in this case.

He noted that Vietnam locked down its borders with the Kingdom and imposed an entry ban on foreign travellers, except for diplomats. The country adopted the measures to protect itself from COVID-19.

Meanwhile in Oddar Meanchey province, Cambodia and Thailand troops have ended a standoff which was sparked when a Cambodian family started building a house at a disputed stretch of the border.

Hor Chinvirakyuth, Anglong Veng district governor, said yesterday that early this week some Cambodian families began building their home in the area where even though both sides have not yet reached an agreement on the demarcation of border posts.

He said the disputed stretch is located at Trapaing Brei commune’s Choam village and the dispute had been settled.

“We negotiated with the Thai authorities to end the dispute and informed them that we have suspended the construction of the house. The Thai side agreed to remove their forces,” Mr Chinvirakyuth said.

“In fact, the family secretly built their house along the white [undemarcated] zone and we have educated them and suspended the construction,” he added.

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