Nuon Chea's arrest
News from Cambodia
Nuon Chea's Arrest Said Overshadowing Cambodia-Vietnam Border Marker Planting
Phnom Penh, Moneakseka Khmer in Cambodian,
22 Sep 07 - 23 Sep 07 pp 1,2 [Report by Kaeut Samrech]
In the past few days news about the arrest of chief murderer Nuon Chea, former chairman of the Khmer Rouge regime's National Assembly, has overshadowed many other important events in Cambodia, such as the planting of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers and the drafting of the anti-corruption law. As a matter of fact, the media have exclusively concentrated their coverage on the arrest of Nuon Chea and his detention at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal [KRT] while hushing up other incidents or paying them scant attention. Even the international observers and diplomats, as well as the nongovernmental organization officials have focused their attention only on the news about Nuon Chea being escorted from Pailin City to the KRT.
Border activists and independent observers recalled that a few months ago the map-confused man, Va Kimhong, publicly claimed that the Cambodian and Vietnamese sides had plans to install more than 100 land border markers before the end of 2007. However, since Va Kimhong made this public declaration the process of planting the border markers between Cambodia and Vietnam has remained secretive. No activities to this effect have been detected. Since 27 September 2006 only four border markers have been planted by the Cambodian-Vietnamese sides at the main border gates where they were officially inaugurated. Besides these four markers, no changes have been noted.
The border activists and independent observers said that at the current rate the planting of 370 markers along the 1,270-km border will never be completed before the end of 2008 as claimed by Va Kimhong, because the planting of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers must face many obstacles, especially the difficult terrain such as in Mondul Kiri and Rotanakiri provinces. Therefore, even if the treaty supplemental to the 1985 state border demarcation treaty is implemented, there is no chance the border markers planting will be completed before 2008 as planned.
At the ceremony planting the initial Cambodian-Vietnamese border marker at the Bavet-Moc Bai pass in the morning of 27 September 2006 both the power-addicted man, Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung publicly announced that the two sides would complete the planting of six other main border markers before the end of 2006. Now, at the approach of the end of 2007 the two sides have been able to plant only four markers. Therefore, it is impossible that the 370 markers along the 1,270-km stretch of the common frontier will be planted in time by the end of 2008, only with the exception that the two sides secretly plant the land border markers without letting the national and international circles know about it.
A number of civic organization officials are worried that the Cambodian-Vietnamese sides would surreptitiously plant the land border markers first before they announce the result because the map-confused man, Va Kimhong, used to assert that the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is a bilateral matter. If this incident did happen, criticisms would fly in from all directions even if the Cambodian-Vietnamese sides claimed that they were implementing the treaty supplemental to the 1985 state border demarcation treaty. This is because if the planting of the border markers was done secretly Cambodia would stand to lose much territory.
As for the Cambodian people living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border, such as those in Dong commune, Romeas Hek district, Svay Rieng province, and in Trapeang Phlong commune, P'nhea Krek district, Kampong Cham province, they want the planting of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers to be completed as soon as possible to prevent the Vietnamese from continuing to commit aggression against and encroach on Cambodian territory as they please. Such is the will of the Cambodian people living along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border because they have heard the megalomaniac Hun Sen bragging that the treaty supplemental to the 1985 treaty would be beneficial to Cambodia. For this reason, they want the process of planting the border markers along the Cambodian-Vietnamese land border be completed as soon as possible so that they would know how many square kilometers of territory Cambodia gains from Vietnam, and where.
So far, some of the people who live in Dong commune, Romeas Hek district, have lost their rice fields and crop orchards to the land-grab actions of the Vietnamese. Others cannot enter their ancestral land to grow crops there, because this land is considered part of the White Zone. Therefore, the sooner the planting of the land border markers between Cambodia and Vietnam is completed the better, and if consequently Cambodia gains tens of thousands of square kilometers from Vietnam it will be even better.
Nevertheless, former King Norodom Sihanouk does not recognize the treaty supplemental to the 1985 state border demarcation treaty as he has called it an illegal treaty contrary to the 23 October 1991 Paris peace agreement. As for Sean Pengse, president of the Paris-based Cambodian Border Committee, he has already declared that this supplemental treaty cannot stop Vietnamese aggression, for Cambodia itself has already violated the Paris peace agreement. The border activists and independent observers are continuing to monitor the process of planting the Cambodian-Vietnamese land border markers very closely, for after the planting of the four main border markers at the border gates it is not yet seen that Cambodia has gained a square inch of territory from Vietnam. On the contrary, it is the Vietnamese authorities who have continued to violate Cambodia's sovereignty with arrogance, such as the cases that took place in the border regions of Rotanakiri and Kampong Cham provinces.
[Description of Source: Phnom Penh Moneakseka Khmer in Cambodian -- Widely-read anti-government daily newspaper affiliated to the Sam Rainsy Party, with occasional pro-US stances evident.]
Published by Khemara Jati
October 5th, 2007