Laos Cambodia Border Closed Over Tensions

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by brian_bkk, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Ol'Timer

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    Laos-Cambodia border closed over tensions

    In the latest flare up in tensions between the two countries, Lao authorities temporarily shut a border crossing with Cambodia and dispatched more troops to an undemarcated area on the northern border after Cambodian authorities began renovating an old French border outpost.

    According to local officials, Laos shut the Voen Kham border crossing in Stung Treng province’s O’Svay commune on Sunday and briefly again yesterday until authorities from Thala Barivat district scrambled to find a resolution.

    O’Svay commune police chief Ham Sovorn said Laos closed the checkpoint after border police tried to upgrade a colonial-era border outpost located in an un-demarcated “white zone” next to the Mekong River in the commune’s Deum Lvea area. Armed Lao troops then moved into the white zone and demanded Cambodian authorities halt the construction, which they did.

    Sovorn said relations with their counterparts across the border had been tense since the beginning of March, as the Lao military continued construction of an outpost in a similar white zone bordering Samaki commune. Work on that Lao outpost provoked a diplomatic protest by provincial authorities last April but Sovorn said work had progressed nonetheless.

    “We do not allow them to build their border post in Dong Kralor Chas [the area of the planned Lao outpost], but they still want to build it without informing us, and already made a well,” he said. “But when we built our post along the river, they stopped us and sent three trucks full of forces . . . They were all equipped with guns and they have prepared for any irregular situation . . . They are ready to attack us.”

    Reached yesterday, Thala Barivat district police chief Sem Sitha said Laos had stationed more troops near O’Svay commune. He said the border had been opened and closed a few times since the stand-off began.

    “But when leaders had talked with them, they have reopened it,” he added. Thala Barivat District Governor Thorng Srean said the border was now open and the situation was calm, but declined to give further details calling it a “national affair”.

    A border policeman, who requested anonymity, said border police planned to renovate the colonial checkpoint as a response to Laos’s attempts to build a military outpost.

    “The demarcation [in that area] has not been agreed on by both governments but the Laotians try to build [their base] . . . Therefore we want to renovate the old post in the Deum Lvea location, but they brought their forces in and shut the border,” he said.

    The incident follows another flare-up in February in Stung Treng’s Siem Pang district, where some 400 Lao troops entered a white zone to stop Cambodian military engineers from building a road on what they maintained was the Kingdom’s territory.

    Provincial authorities were unreachable yesterday. Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat, meanwhile, said he was “busy” before hanging up.
     
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  2. Goran Phuket

    Goran Phuket Moderator
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    All in friendly spirit of AEC and Asean. What a joke.
     
  3. Jellyfish

    Jellyfish Member

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    Hi all, any updates with regards to the boarder crossing?
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    I dont think this is a problem.
    It is a dispute over an area of a local border crossing

    The latest news I can see is this from May

    Troops from Laos and Cambodia in Cross-Border Standoff Over Road Construction

    Soldiers from Cambodia and Laos have been locked in a standoff across their shared border since February, in a spat that has seen troops on the ground accuse each other of incursions while the leaders of the two countries dismiss reports of friction.

    Cambodian soldiers who are stationed along the border area in Stung Treng province told RFA's Khmer Service that Lao soldiers have dug in in Cambodian territory at Koh Reusey, a town on the Sekong River in Siem Pang District in the northeastern corner of Cambodia. The Lao troops have been deployed in that area to prevent Cambodian engineering teams from building a road and bridge near the border, they said.

    Svay Nhan, a Cambodian military commander in Stung Treng, told RFA last week that Laotian soldiers had dug trenches on Cambodian land for several days. However the Cambodian engineering team continued to build the road along the border, and negotiations with the Lao side went on while the construction project continued.

    “Military of all levels have been involved in addressing this issue. Negotiations are under way while the road construction work continues. The border posts have not been planted in that area yet," Svay Nhan said on May 3.

    image.

    A Cambodian soldier at the border told RFA on May 11 that Lao troops had trespassed several miles into Cambodian territory and dug trenches deployed weapons.

    The soldier, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity, said he thought it was not likely that the showdown would trigger an armed conflict.

    The Lao soldiers appear to be trying to stop Cambodian soldiers from completing the road and bridge project, which was 30 percent complete, the soldier said. The Lao troops assert that the area is contested border territory that both governments are still discussing how to delineate.

    'We don't have any dispute'

    Back in Phnom Penh, however, Cambodian Defense Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat dismissed the accounts given by his troops.

    “I have checked the border area with Laos. No Laotian solider has dug any trenches on Cambodian soil. Our road construction project has continued without any interruption," he told RFA.

    "We are waiting for the border committees of both countries to meet and address the border demarcation issue. We don’t have any dispute with our Lao counterpart." he added.

    A statement by the ministry further rejected reports of the incursion as "groundless and pure exaggeration intended to incite and mislead the public before the upcoming commune elections."

    Cambodia holds important nationwide local elections on June 4.

    "Such information hurts the good relations between the two countries. Our Royal Armed Forces shall never allow Lao soldiers or any foreign soldiers to be stationed on our soil," said the statement.

    Meanwhile Men Kong, a spokesman for Stung Treng province, told RFA on May 11 that provincial authorities had sent a letter to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the border issue, he was told that the foreign ministries of the two countries were working on the issue.

    “It’s an internal and diplomatic exchange between both counties regarding the issue. We have already notified the joint border committee and the border authorities. Our position is clear. We shall continue to protect our sovereignty”.

    Just a 'rumor'

    On May 10, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told Hun Sen during their meeting at the World Economic Forum in Phnom Penh that the information about the confrontation of both soldiers at the border in Stung Treng area was just a "rumor."

    On the Lao side, a senior military and public security official of Champasak Province on Tuesday denied there was any Lao military deployment across the border, describing the movements as "regular duty" for the troops.

    The Champasak official, who requested anonymity, rejected a report in the Phnom Penh Post on Monday that quoted Svay Nhan as saying that 70 to 100 armed Lao soldiers had been deployed along the border.

    “We did not deploy any armed force but we are just carrying out our duty along the border. When our soldiers are on their duty, such as working to prevent illegal logging, they are always fully dressed and equipped with military equipment, but they do not mean to start any armed conflict with our counterparts," he told RFA's Lao Service.

    He said the Lao side warned the Cambodians to stop construction of the road very close to the border, in a "white zone" between demarcated border points.

    “Any construction must be made at least 100 meters from demarcated posts, but we have observed that the Cambodian side is building the road very close to the demarcated posts. Therefore, we decided to carefully check and issue a warning to our counterparts. However, the Cambodian side does not seem to be happy with our warning and they accused us of illegally trespassing in their sovereign territory," said the official from Champasak province.

    A meeting between the Champasak and Stung Treng provincial governors and the joint-border committee was planned for early May, but has now been postponed without a clear date, Lao sources said.

    Laos' official Vientiane Times, reporting on the Hun Sen-Thongloun meeting on May 12, said "the two leaders noted the progress made on border demarcation, which is largely complete. They encouraged the officials in charge to exert every effort to complete demarcation along the remaining borderline."​


    Source: Troops from Laos and Cambodia in Cross-Border Standoff Over Road Construction
     

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