Saturday, 15 August 2015

Hun Sen: Destination Prey Nokor

“Vietnam strongly criticises recent violent actions by some Cambodian extremists that violate both Vietnam’s and Cambodia’s laws as well as treaties and agreements signed by both sides.”

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Le Hai Bin, Vietnamese Communist Party’s official newspaper Nhan Dan, 30 June 2015

“[This request for UN maps] also has the objective to avoid and end the incitement of extreme nationalism by some quarters in Cambodia to create confusion among the national and international public to make political gains, which could create a catastrophe for the whole Cambodian nation.”

Premier Hun Sen, Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 6 July, 2015

“If you [Mr Om Sam An] works with the maps – the maps lodged at the UN, you will render automatically 50 Km2 of land to Vietnam because the maps that we lodged with the UN – eventhough they are not for border demarcation – we will lose 50 Km2. That is why the current government that abides by Article 2 of the Constitution does not entirely use the specified map.”

Deputy Director of the Secretariat of the National Authority in Charge of Border Affairs Koy Pisey, 11 August 2015, Radio Free Asia

“[We] have not used any untrue maps; they have been approved by co-presidents of the joint border committee and [the committee’s] technical chief.”

Senior minister Var Kimhong, 3 July 2015, the Cambodia Daily

“Now we have the map in our hands, so when there are problems we can know where our border is… We can explain to our people to let them know where our land is and where they are posting the [border] poles.”

Tbong Khmum provincial governor Prach Chan, 16 July 2015, the Cambodia Daily

“We’ll use it to check the real geography to see and know where Cambodia and Vietnam’s land is without estimating. This map will let us make a clear argument and help us when we report to the top leaders about compliance with the correct map.”

Governor of Kandal province Mao Phirun, 16 July 2015, the Cambodia Daily

“[T]here will be…a training course about checking the border, to make everyone know how to manage the situation on the border, because they cannot manage the border as they do not know which side belongs to us and to them.”

Interior Minister Sar Kheng, 9 July 2015, the Cambodia Daily

“The current government uses [for border demarcations] the map specified in Article 2 of the Constitution…  And if the government uses this map everyday Mr Om Sam An has no right to say the government uses fake maps. If Mr Om Sam An says the government uses fake maps, then this means the Constitution is fake. If the Constitution is fake, then the whole Cambodia is fake, is it not?”

Deputy Director of the Secretariat of the National Authority in Charge of Border Affairs Koy Pisey, 11 August 2015, Radio Free Asia

“The Cambodian Constitution was written with a mistake, a mistake that ties our own arms by putting in it the map printed between 1933 and 1953.”

Premier Hun Sen, 17 July 2015, the Cambodia Daily

Vietnam must be gratified to see Hun Sen goes into bat for them in the border issues so eloquently. He picks up a cue from the Viets fast. Less than one week after Le Hai Bin has uttered the word “extremists”, Hun Sen runs with it like a devout disciple as shown in his letter to Ban Ki-moon requesting help to deal with “extreme nationalism” in Cambodia.

It is now confirmed at least the Constitution-specified map is not the only one in play. Koy Pisey claims other maps are also used – without realising that move alone violates Article 2 of the Constitution. She does, however, justify the breach: it is done to gain 50 Km2 of land, which would go to Vietnam under the Constitution-specified map.

While breaking laws is nothing unusual for Hun Sen, the Viets concession of this 50 Km2 land is. First, as Var Kimhong confirms, the maps used for the border demarcation are all approved by Vietnam. Would Vietnam accept the Constitution-specified map solely? It may be a compromise that other maps are included for its interest if the Cambodian Constitution-specified map is considered at all.

Second, if the land were Vietnam concession to Hun Sen, what would it get in exchange? The public will never know because Koy Pisey has already declared some information must stay as State secrets.

At the border though, it is more worrisome. In all these years of border demarcations, regional officials have no idea where the border is and how to manage it. That is why provincial governors are so excited to now have the maps and a Sar Kheng’s training course on border management. They are closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

However, to make up for this operational deficiency, there are now new border committees. Hun Sen has established another committee of the CPP top brass and a Royal Academy of Cambodia research group. They look more like some gathering of individuals who can do nothing individually, and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.

No need to be in despair, though. Hun Sen still has an ace up his sleeve. To overcome what Koy Pisey refers to as a possible fake Constitution and fake Cambodia, Hun Sen says there is a mistake in Article 2 that disadvantages Cambodia.

The offending Article will be amended in due course. Hun Sen has prepared enough groundwork to ensure he will have the two third majority in the National Assembly required for any Constitutional amendment. A number of opposition activists have already been arrested, and some parliamentarians are put on tenterhooks. Besides, minority leader Sam Rainsy has already proposed the amendment, according to Hun Sen.

The bottom line is the border demarcation is based on a set of maps that Vietnam approves, which could deliver Cambodia that 50 Km2. Hence, if Hun Sen lasts long enough, Cambodia will get Prey Nokor back in due course, unless the Viets are not as dumb as they are implicated.

Ung Bun Ang

Parthian Shot:

An imaginary justice renders 18 month jail sentence to four unionists who block a road traffic for about one hour – the same sentence for Chhouk Bandit who shoot three workers. The reason for the same sentence because the road block could kill people who are stuck in traffic for about an hour. The fact that no one actually dies does not count. And the court logic is bewildering.

“There is no image of them [the unionists] shooting three people but they blocked the road. Those who cannot travel, how many [would] die because they could no longer breathe? You can’t see an image of that. The people who [could] die while they blocked the road, they could not file a complaint because they are already dead.”

Deputy prosecutor of the Svay Rieng provincial court Phan Ratana, 13 August 2015, the Cambodia Daily

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