News

Cambodia Ratifies Controversial Treaty with Vietnam

The Cambodian parliament has ratified a controversial border agreement with Vietnam, following a government campaign to suppress dissent over the issue.

All 97 lawmakers present at the National Assembly Friday voted to approve the contentious accord. However, 14 opposition party lawmakers earlier walked out of the chamber, to protest the treaty and the limited time they were given to ask questions.

The three-part agreement is a supplement to a 1985 border treaty, and is seen to legitimize that earlier document.

Border expert Sean Pengse, one of the treaty's critics, says Cambodia may not have entered the 1985 agreement voluntarily, since the treaty was signed while the country was under occupation by Vietnam. He says the treaty gives away land and maritime areas that have historically belonged to Cambodia.

Vietnam occupied the country after the fall of the genocidal Khmer Rouge in 1979, and installed many of the leaders of the current government. Relations with Vietnam remain a sore point for many Cambodians.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his deputy, Sok An, took up most of Friday morning speaking in favor of the treaty. Coalition lawmakers accused the opposition, including Sean Pengse, of opposing the treaty for their own political advantage.

Following the vote, the prime minister called the passing of the treaty a historic mission to pave the way for peaceful and friendly relations with Vietnam.

The prime minister said Cambodia will work to implement the treaty to demarcate the Cambodian-Vietnam border, and will continue negotiations on disputed land and maritime boundaries.

Mr. Hun Sen returned from signing the treaty in Hanoi last month vowing to sue anyone who accused him of giving away Cambodian land. His government promptly ordered the arrest of a popular independent journalist for broadcasting an interview critical of the treaty.

A teacher's union president was also jailed, for signing a press release blasting the government's border policy. The two men are being held on criminal defamation charges.

Four other people wanted for arrest for allegedly defaming the prime minister have fled the country. Human rights leaders and journalists, including a reporter for the Voice of America Khmer service, have also left Cambodia to avoid arrest.

Prior to Friday's vote, the prime minister launched a campaign on national television and radio in support of the treaty. He also threatened to dissolve the monarchy if King Norodom Sihamoni did not give the pact his final approval.

Speaking at the National Assembly Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An reaffirmed the government's commitment to silencing critics, saying "sensitive comments," such as calling the government traitorous, would contribute to political instability and had to be stopped.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs