Sunday-Monday 02-03 March 2008
Sralanh Khmer newspaper
Translated from Khmer by Heng Soy
The Cambodian government deposited maps at the UN in 1955 which indicates that its lands juxtapose with the Vietnamese borders along a length of 1,230 km, the Lao borders along a length of 540 km, and the Thai borders along a length of 804 km. The maritime borders with Vietnam and Thailand extend over a length of 507 km, if measured according to actual border delineation, however, this length is 215 km if measured along straight line.
Civil society, the opposition party and the general public used to criticize the Hun Sen regime which allowed the loss of Cambodian territories, beginning from the 80s when it allowed neighboring countries to move their borders inside Cambodian territories from all directions. However, Hun Sen declared recently that “Based on their propaganda, maybe the current Cambodian borders would be located in Pursat province, and from the east, it would be located at Kampong Chhnang, therefore, the Cambodian borders all disappeared… but Khmer in Koh Thom are witnesses, those who live and are born here in the past, their number still remains the same.”
In response to Hun Sen’s statement regarding the border issue, Ear Channa, the CWCI Secretary-general, said from Norway that, 2 or 3 years ago, he visited the areas where Cambodia lost its territories. He said that in 2004-2005, while he was the deputy Secretary-general of the Students’ Movement for Democracy (SMD), he performed an visit study tour along the eastern borders, next to Vietnam. The SMD clearly observed the loss of borders which are part of Cambodia’s territorial integrity due to Vietnamese violations, almost everywhere, and in particular in the Phnom Prochiev area, located along the border in Kampot province; in the southern area of the province of Takeo; in the area of Pak Nam in Kandal prince, the entire island of Koh Ta Mao was lost; in Kampong Cham province, several areas were lost; in Snuol, Kratie province, large swath of Cambodian territories were lost, therefore, the claim made by Hun Sen saying that Cambodia did not lose any territory is nothing but a lie to deceive not only to himself, but also the entire Cambodian public.
Ear Channa confirmed that his group visited Cambodian victims living along the borders who lost their lands due to Vietnamese aggression, and he said that his group of students visited those areas several times, each time with a group of 50 to 80 students. However, the armed Vietnamese border guards always prevented the students from entering the areas lost by Cambodia, and they were also forbidden from taking pictures showing the truth in these areas as well.
Mr. Sean Pengse, President of the Paris-based Cambodia’s Border Committee, said that in the Cambodian maps deposited that the UN in 1955, there was no indication of so-called “white zones” (disputed border areas). The “white zones” issues raised by the neighboring countries are nothing more than a prevention to stop Cambodian people from entering these special zones along the border. These “white zones” were created stemming from the successive agreements signed by Hun Sen’s regime with neighboring countries, in particular, the border treaties with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1979, 1982-1983, 1985, and more recently in 2005.
Mr. Sean Pengse declared that these white zones are lost territories as far as Cambodia is concerned, because Vietnam and Thailand can do whatever they want in these zones, but Cambodia cannot. Therefore, these are loss territories, and the most blatant case is the Ta Moan Temple which belonged to Cambodia in the past, and it was recognized as such by local people living there, but nowadays, when Thailand proceeds to repair this temple, Cambodia does not even dare say anything at all. Furthermore, Thailand decided that a border road is the borderline, whereas during the French protectorate era, this road belonged to Cambodia, and now Cambodia is not allowed to touch this road at all, therefore, this territory is lost. He said that based on his study, Vietnam encroaches about 40 square-km into Cambodia in the province of Ratanakiri.
Mr. Sean Pengse, the former Minister of Industry, Mining, and Energy of the Khmer Republic regime, claimed that because of Hun Sen’s treaties with neighboring countries, Cambodia also lost a large extent of its maritime territories. Mr. Sean Pengse said: “Cambodia signed a recognition of the border treaty in 1982, and this led to the loss of 30,000-square-km (of our seas), Cambodia also recognized that the Krachak Ses and Koh Tral (Phu Quoc) Islands belong to Vietnam, that was why Vietnam took 10,000-square-km of our seas and turned it into historical waters (to be shared by both countries)… Following the conclusion of the 1982 agreement, Vietnam concluded a treaty with Thailand allowing the latter to occupy about 30,000-square-km of Cambodian seas. Cambodia originally had 95,000-square-km of seas, but Vietnam took away 30,000-square-km, and Thailand took another 30,0000-square-km, so Cambodia is left with about 35,000-square-km of seas only.”
Mr. Sean Pengse calls on Hun Sen’s regime to protect and defend our ancestral territories, and he said that is a good thing that Hun Sen claimed that he can protect our lands, however, Hun Sen’s government should also protect the land and maritime territories as prescribed by the maps deposited by Cambodia at the UN in 1955 as well. Otherwise, Cambodia will surely lose its lands, and those losses can be blamed on Hun Sen’s conclusions of agreements with neighboring countries starting from 1979 and extending until 2005.