U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Meets Cambodian Defense Minister
Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – Visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense H.E. Derek Mitchell met here on Jan. 31 with Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Tea Banh, minister of National Defense.
His visit to Cambodia is to boost the defense policy discussion between the United States and Cambodia at defense deputy minister level, he told the Cambodian defense minister.
The discussions between the two countries were held from general department to defense deputy minister levels following a visit by Cambodian Defense Minister H.E. Tea Banh to the United States last year, during which he met with U.S. Defense Secretary H.E. Robert Gates in Washington.
He believed that the defense policy talks will not only enhance the cooperation between the two nations, but among the region as well.
It will also give good views in the future, he said.
In reply, H.E. Tea Banh told the U.S. guest of the current situation of Cambodian-Thai border in Preah Vihear Temple region.
He also raised some issues relating to Cambodian army reform in response to the recommendations of Cambodian prime minister and the retirement being imposed on disabled soldiers and soldier retirees.
The U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense, who arrived here on Jan. 29, also visited a military training center in Kampong Speu province. –AKP
By THOU Poeu
Ministry of Public Works and Transport Signs Document with Foreign Company on Road Quality
Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transport last Friday granted a French technical consulting company to monitor the quality of the 950 kilometer-long road rehabilitation and construction project.
The agreement was signed by H.E. Tram Iv Tek, minister of Public Works and Transport and Ms. Lynne Reyes Sauvage, director of Egis International.
The almost-US$2 million contract lasts for five years. –AKP
By KHAN Sophirom
Koh Pich Island Developer Begins to Construct Two More Bridges
Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – The ground-breaking ceremony for the two new Koh Pich bridges located in Koh Pich Island in Phnom Penh was launched on Jan. 31 in the presence of Phnom Penh Governor H.E. Kep Chutema.
The two bridges with the same length of 101 meters long and 12.70 meters wide, one for entry and the other one for exit, are dubbed “Twin Dragons”. The construction is expected to complete in October this year.
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Kep Chutema said Koh Pich Island developer is planning to invest over US$118 million on several development projects and a 555-meter tower on Koh Pich Island will be also built in 2015. –AKP
THAILAND MUST BE SENSITIVE TO ICAPP VOICES AND TO THE WISDOM OF WORLD OPINION
• The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) reaffirmed the ICJ Decision 15 June 1962;
• The International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) reaffirmed the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List;
• The Cambodian flag flies over territory under Cambodian sovereignty only.
There is no Cambodian flag flying over “the disputed area”. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva should not be alarmed and wrongly demand that the Cambodian flag be removed. It flies certainly over territory under Cambodian sovereignty only, in the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear.
It is Cambodia’s longstanding official position that there is “no overlapping area,” and “no disputed area” near the Temple of Preah Vihear, based on the Dangrek Map, known in legal and international circles as the ANNEX I map, accepted and used by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1962 in order to make the historical, legal and international judgments of 15 June 1962, (Cambodia vs Thailand), case: The Temple of Preah Vihear. The ICJ found that Thailand had accepted the ANNEX I map, which confers the binding character of the ANNEX I map on the parties to the 13 February 1904 Convention.
The site of the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda is situated 300 meters west of the Temple of Preah Vihear and 700 meters south of the frontier on the ANNEX I map, as delimited by the Mixed Commission composed of French and Siamese officers prescribed in the provisions of Articles 1 and 3 of the 13 February 1904 Convention.
Legitimately and legally speaking, this is an area under Cambodian sovereignty, and as such Cambodia is free to fly her flag or develop infrastructure aimed at improving the living conditions of the people in communities which had been established under Cambodian administrative supervision and control. Having said that, as long as (i) it is not a Thai provocation by actions and words, (ii) not a cause to cloud the relations and mutual understandings between Cambodia and Thailand, (iii) not hidden or open violations of Cambodia sovereignty by Thailand, how Thailand sees the frontier line on the ANNEX I map would not be a concern for Cambodia. The ANNEX I map exists legally. An international, final and stable frontier line exists legally as delimited by the Mixed Commission and as shown on the map.
Most recently, on 5 December 2010, after concluding successfully the 6th General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) represented by 89 Asian ruling and opposition political parties, ICAPP Standing Committee members visited the Temple of Preah Vihear. They stood on the grounds of the Temple, turning their eyes north, looking at Thailand, and:
• Reaffirmed the great international significance and outstanding universal value –very pure, significant and exceptional- of this Temple in accordance with the cultural standard of UNESCO, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008, and expressed their appreciation of the Decision made by the World Heritage Committee to inscribe the Temple on the World Heritage List in Quebec, Canada;
• Expressed their entire satisfaction with the decision of the International Court of Justice in June 1962, which ruled the Temple of Preah Vihear is indisputably situated in territory under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia;
• Appealed to the international community for their immediate assistance in restoring, preserving and protecting the Temple, following the example of ICC-Angkor, which should be applied as a model for the sacred site of the Temple of Preah Vihear.
As it is known universally among civilized nations in case of contention, there exist international standards, rules and procedures to resolve the differences peacefully, and in this instance between Cambodia and Thailand. Rolling tanks, sending troops to the border areas, beefed up troops with heavy weapons by Thailand are acts of provocation and the threat of using forces is imminent not to be ignored by the Cambodian people and government.
Thailand, since the days of the ICJ proceedings has shown its true color to be driven by insatiable territorial ambition over Cambodia and has resorted to innuendo, speculation and suggestion in a variety of ways intended to intoxicate international public opinion with the scheme of swaying it to the side of Thailand and to believe that Thailand is a victim of Cambodian territorial encroachment and that Cambodia has remained badly mean and aggressive and yet unpunished by the international public opinion. Sure enough, Thai people, for nationalist reasons have fallen for that. But the international public opinion, despite relentless campaigns by Thai powerful media in many different foreign languages, has instead given to Thailand a slap in the face by:
• Being skeptical from the start, knowing that Thailand is relatively much, much more economically and military powerful than Cambodia to allow the latter to bully Thailand; that is unthinkable.
• Believing that Thailand as a whole from top to bottom would not have tolerated any neighbors had they encroach Thai territory, or occupy a square inch of Thai territory, and asking why Thailand has not acted if it was true.
• Seeing Thailand’s indecisiveness and hesitation pertinent to the alleged loss of Thai “disputed territory” as the admission of Thailand’s scare of the unknown resulting from its lie and deception if it pursues military, diplomatic or international legal action.
• Getting tired of the same broken song about “overlapping area” and “disputed area,” while insisting to resolve the “problems” bi-laterally and resisting the alternative approach of finishing up the Thai unproductive and annoying saga full of innuendo, suggestion and speculation, by using the good auspices of ASEAN and the UNITED NATIONS.
• Concluding that Thailand is a crying baby, and that is the end of it.
The Cambodian people have reasons to be thankful to the international public opinion for its fairness in listening to their voices telling the fact and the truth and referring only to the binding international convention treaty and legality.
Often times Thailand’s provocations and threats of using forces are real and therefore, they demand vigilance from Cambodians at all times. Well over two years now, since 15 July 2008, Thailand has learnt some sad lessons that it should not have messed around with Cambodia, under the wise leadership of Prime Minister, Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen who has the dream and the wisdom of building peaceful and developing areas along the border of Cambodia with Thailand and other neighbors, but is determined to lead a united Cambodia to defend her sovereignty and safeguard her territorial integrity.
Senior Analyst and Researcher on
Institute for International Affairs, Cambodia
1 February 2011
(The comments are solely the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Government of Cambodia.)
Cambodian NA Delegation Leaves for International Conference in Quebec
Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – A Cambodian delegation of the National Assembly led by its First Vice-President H.E. Nguon Nhel departed here on Jan. 31 to Canada to attend the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CIDEC), taking place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5 in Quebec.
According to a press release of Cambodia’s NA Secretariat General, NA delegations from 77 countries will take part in this six-day conference.
On the occasion, on behalf of Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, NA president and chairman of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly for 2010-2011, H.E. Nguon Nhel will deliver a speech and join a discussion on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. –AKP
By SOKMOM Nimul
Cambodia Is Determined to Maximize Cooperation and Minimize Conflict
Phnom Penh, February 1, 2011 AKP – Cambodian Information Minister H.E. Khieu Kanharith received here yesterday a delegation of the Media Union of ASEAN led by its Secretary General Mr. Prasit Sangrungrueng.
The meeting focused particularly on two Thai nationals, who are still held in custody awaiting trial to be held on Feb. 1, 2011.
The two Thais are among a group of seven who were arrested on Dec. 29, 2010 by Cambodian border protection troops for illegal entry into Cambodian territory in Banteay Meanchey province and then charged for illegal entry into Cambodia and unlawful entry into military zone.
They are Veera Somkwamkid, a core member of the Thailand Patriot Network, and Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, known as Veera’s woman secretary. They face additional charge of an attempt in collecting information which might damage Cambodia’s national security.
The other five were sentenced on Jan. 21 by Phnom Penh Municipal Court to nine-month prison terms, but their jail term is suspended. They returned home the following day.
In the meeting, H.E. Khieu Kanharith iterated that no one could intervene in the court procedure. “We can help only when the court finished its procedure,” he underlined, recommending that the case should be stopped at the first instance court like that of the five Thais.
There is no benefit for Cambodia to keep Veera Somkwamkid longtime in the country, but we also do not want him to use Cambodia’s court for his political gain, H.E. Khieu Kanharith stressed.
The Cambodian information minister further recalled Cambodia’s position to solve the border issue peacefully, to maximize the cooperation and to minimize the conflict. “Cambodia and Thailand have to live together forever. We can not change to other places. […] It’s normal that no nation wants to lose its territory, but the most important is to do our best to avoid violence and war. If we fight, that’s the people who died, not the politicians,” he said.
In Cambodia, he added, there are also politicians who used border issue for their political gains. But the Royal Government of Cambodia called on people to leave the issue to the technical group. Once the group finished the border demarcation, the politicians can examine its works.
H.E. Khieu Kanharith also pledged to submit the Thai request to help the two detained Thais to Premier Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen. –AKP
By SOKMOM Nimul