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Cambodia Calls on Vietnam to End 'Encroachment'

FILE - Cambodian flag flies at Independent Monument, Phnom Penh.
FILE - Cambodian flag flies at Independent Monument, Phnom Penh.

The Cambodian government has called on long-term ally Vietnam to stop what it called encroachment on its territory.

A letter sent to Hanoi by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation late last week detailed alleged violations of the country’s territory by its Southeast Asian neighbor, including the digging of nine reservoirs, the construction of buildings and roads in the country’s east, and the construction of a military outpost in Kandal province and an alleged gateway on Cambodian land in Takeo province.

A meeting on the issue has been scheduled between the countries for August 29.

Cambodian foreign affairs spokesman Chum Sounry could not be reached for comment.

Va Kim Hong, head of the Cambodian government committee tasked with assessing the border dispute, said the government “didn’t accept this land encroachment,” which he called illegal under international law. He added that Phnom Penh officials decided to go public with the complaint after closed-door discussions between officials representing each country became deadlocked.

Va Kim Hong, however, expressed hope that the Vietnamese government would now work to resolve the issue.

The letter also showed that the two countries have signed an agreement to call on France to assist them in demarcating the border, the exact location of which has been officially disputed since independence from the former colonial power.

Mao Monyvann, an opposition lawmaker with the Cambodia National Rescue Party, welcomed France’s involvement in the dispute, but said discussions most likely would not lead to an amicable resolution, and that Cambodia should take the case to an international court of arbitration.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Khmer service.