Sunday, May 01, 2011

MOU 2000-The Root Cause of Thai-Cambodian Conflicts

By Pang Sokheoun

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in 2000 under the Democrat-led government of Chuan Leekpai and the dictatorship-led government of Hun Sen, is a legal instrument meant to set up a joint boundary committee, to help survey and demarcate the border of the two countries Thailand and Cambodia initiated by Thailand.

Many of Cambodians are made to believe that this MOU 2000 is the main legal instrument, giving Cambodia the upper hand, to bring peace, to negotiate the border conflicts, to protect Cambodian territory and on how to demarcate the border lines. But to me I see it as disadvantage and a root cause of all the problems.

I don´t want to explore other root causes of the conflicts but just MOU 2000 to why it has become the effective instrument to create the border conflicts between Thailand and Cambodia until today.

The positive point of the MOU 2000 for Cambodia is that the border´s resolution between the two countries will be negotiated and demarcated basing on its Article 1 (c), which says:"Maps which are the result of demarcation works of the Commission of Delimitation of the Boundary between Indochina and Siam set up under the Convention of 1904 and the Treaty of 1907 between France and Siam, and other documents relating to the application of the Convention of 1904 and the Treaty of 1907 between France and Siam."

With this, it is sure that the “maps” mentioned in this Article is the 1:200,000 scale one, which is part of a series of maps made by France that show the Preah Vihear Temple and its adjacent area being in Cambodia.

However, we should recognize that this MOU 2000 also gives Thailand the bid in blocking border negotiation and demarcationwhich thought to be critical to its national pride. More, it plays as the key alibi for Thailand to lay claim for any land areas along the borders for its political and national interests as it has happened so far, for instances, the case of Prasat Preah Vihear , Prasat Ta Mean Thom, and Prasat Ta Krobei.

If we remember before the clashes happened at Prasat Preah Vihear, Thailand often raised four reasons to argue such as: (1) the easy gateway to reach the temple is from the Thai side, (2) the borderline doesn´t follow the watershed principle, (3) the border line demarcation is not yet complete, and (4) it needs co-management plan of Prasat Preah Vihear. But from 2009 Abhsit has turned these arguments to be only one practical point – the “disputed zone” or “white zone”, which he based his claim on the spirit of MOU 2000 in particular Article 5 which stated that:

“To facilitate the effective survey along the entire stretch of common land boundary, authorities of either Government and agents shall not carry any work resulting in changes of environment of the frontier zone, except that which is carried out by the Joint Technical Sub-Commission in the interest of the survey and demarcation.

With this, he repeatedly defends Thailand´s position at the international arena that Thailand is not invading Cambodia but it acts in self-defense and protect Thailand´s territory which Cambodia is occupying.

He also interprets that the MOU 2000 prioritize the bilateral talk under framework of the General Border Committee and the Regional Border Committee. This is the main reason that Thailand keeps insisting the bilateral talk with Cambodia even though it clearly knows that the talk has not worked for years.

The benefits of the MOU 2000 raised by Abhsit are clearly told in some of his speeches published in the followings:

  • Speaking during his weekly TV and radio address, Sunday, 8 August 2010 Abhisit emphasized the Thai government understanding of the apparent impasse while the commission acknowledges that Cambodia is still unable to submit its map. He said that the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) contains benefits to Thailand as it prevents the Cambodian government from submitting its map to the UNESCO World Heritage Commission (WHC) because the border demarcation is not yet completed.
  • During the TV night broadcast on 23 January 2011, Abhisit said that the memorandum was a tool for keeping either country from asserting unilaterally its territorial claim over disputed border areas. The memo required the two countries to determine together what aspects of the dispute could be settled and what remained contentious.
  • And most importantly, Abhisit said in his letter to UN to counter Hun Sen´s letter to UN dated 10 August 2010 that the current problems with Cambodia stemmed from Cambodia’s encroachments of Thai territory. “The current problems arise from Cambodia’s encroachment of Thailand’s territory in violation of international law, and in particular Article 5 of MOU”, said the letter.

So, we do wonder why Cambodian leader signed this MOU if we have already had the internationally recognized treaties, maps, and verdict to demarcate the border lines of the countries. Didn´t Cambodian government have any legal team work, international law experts, political analysts to analyze the vision and the affect of this MOU before it was signed?

Now, we need this MOU revoked because it benefits nothing to Cambodia but giving Thailand the reasons to invade us, losing more territorial integrity, and suffering our people.


Anonymous said...

*Hun sen ,May give some star to Phay siphann Right now.I saw his wearing Military uniform without Star.How come?.

Anonymous said...

With Thai khmer raise to talk with the border threaty form 1904 and 1907. But with Viet, only the treaty after 1983 and 1905 during Kampuchea under Viet invaded Khmer, inluding Kok Trol belong to the Viet (CPP Boss), The border treaty in 1991 in Paris means nothing for Viet.

Anonymous said...

Thai&Viet( cheam reav)make trouble for Cambodia.

Why don't we have a real Khmer government,maybe Khmer people will live in Peace?

Anonymous said...

takes the case to the world court body,let them (Hollands)

Siam, policies is to flip flop..
it seem,that, the situations never ended ..

Anonymous said...

Thank Sokhoeun for bringing it up. This is good information; the questions you asked really a good one, and it's a rhetorical questions.

The CPP regime as you well know are at the Fifth grade level. Never ask Hun Sen about economic or land management, the guy has too many PhDs -- doesn't know craps!

Yeah, he brags about bringing peace to Cambodia. But, he never made any progress to leap Khmer Society forward...

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Anonymous said...

Var Kim Hong does recognize that Cambodia, if compared to the colonial Service Geographique de l’Indochine scale map 1/100,000 and the 1985 delimitation treaty, will loses 9,000 hectares; and compared to U.S Army Mapping Service scale map 1/50,000 with the 1985 Treaty, would lose about 7,900 hectares to Vietnam. This statement was confirmed by Var Kim Hong to Mr. Touch Bora Esq through a telephone conversation on 30 August 2002 at 4:30 p.m. (Sydney time), which Mr. Touch Bora Esq wrote in his letter dated on 9 September 2002 sent to Sam Dach Ta Noroudom Sihanouk concerning over border affairs.
In fact, the loss is absolutely more than the 1000 square kilometers stated by MP Sam Rainsy in his statement, if we add the size of the historical water of 30000 square kilometers awarded to Vietnam under the 1982 Agreement which has been into affect and now already become under the full control of Vietnam. And this would not be the last if the equidistance principle be used to delimit the maritime boundary, Cambodia will lose an additional area of sea and seabed measuring at least 860 square nautical miles from the Brevie Line to the north, analyzed by Mr. Touch Bora Esq or another 10000 square kilometers confirmed by Mr. Sean Pengse, the President of the Cambodian Border Committee Worldwide, which exclusively include another Koh Poula Wai to Vietnam added to the previous lost islands- Koh Tral (Dao Phu Quoc) and Koh Poulo Panjang (Dao Thu Chu).

This is why sVar Kim Hong said in front of Students´s Movement for Democracy (SMD), and Sam Dach Ta Norodom Sihanouk on 22 Janaury 2000 during our audience with him concerning the border resolution with Vietnam that; “If we want peace, we must sacrifice our flesh to the tiger.” The truth is discovered now that, “Sacrifice the flesh to tiger actually means cutting our land to the Viet.” This word was clearly spoken out from his mouth and there were Sam Dach Ta as witness and 31 members.

We must condemn this Var Kim Hong for his role in helping the traitorous regime of Hun Sen.

Smart Khmer Girl Ms. Rattana Keo,

Anonymous said...

Koh Tral Island must not be forgotten

By Ms. Rattana Keo

Why do Koh Tral Island, known in Vietnam as Phu Quoc, a sea and land area covering proximately over 10,000 km2 [Note: the actual land size of Koh Tral itself is 574 square kilometres (222 sq miles)] have been lost to Vietnam by whose treaty? Why don’t Cambodia government be transparent and explain to Cambodia army at front line and the whole nation about this? Why don't they include this into education system? Why?

Cambodian armies are fighting at front line for 4.6 km2 on the Thai border and what's about over 10,000km2 of Cambodia to Vietnam. Nobody dare to talk about it! Why? Cambodian armies you are decide the fate of your nation, Cambodian army as well as Cambodian people must rethink about this again and again. Is it fair?

Koh Tral Island, the sea and land area of over 10,000 square kilometres have been lost to Vietnam by the 1979 to 1985 treaties. The Cambodian army at front line as well as all Cambodian people must rethink again about these issues. Are Cambodian army fighting to protect the Cambodia Nation or protecting a very small group that own big lands, big properties or only protecting a small group but disguising as protecting the Khmer nation?

The Cambodian army at front lines suffer under rain, wind, bullets, bombs, lack of foods, lack of nutrition and their families have no health care assistance, no securities after they died but a very small group eat well, sleep well, sleep in first class hotel with air conditioning system with message from young girls, have first class medical care from oversea medical treatments, they are billionaires, millionaires who sell out the country to be rich and make the Cambodian people suffer everyday.

Who signed the treaty 1979-1985 that resulted in the loss over 10,000 km2 of Cambodia??? Why they are not being transparent and brave enough to inform all Cambodians and Cambodian army at front line about these issues? Why don't they include Koh Tral (Koh Tral size is bigger than the whole Phom Phen and bigger than Singapore [Note: Singapore's present land size is 704 km2 (271.8 sq mi)]) with heap of great natural resources, in the Cambodian education system?

Look at Hun Sen's families, relatives and friends- they are billionaires, millionaires. Where did they get the money from when we all just got out of war with empty hands [in 1979]? Hun Sen always say in his speeches that Cambodia had just risen up from the ashes of war, just got up from Year Zero with empty hands and how come they are billionaires, millionaires but 90% of innocent Cambodian people are so poor and struggling with their livelihood every day?

Smart Khmer girl Ms. Rattana Keo,

Anonymous said...

You fucking bitch talking about Koh Tral all the time and why you fucking don't go over there do by yourself motherfucker.

Anonymous said...

ប៉ាង សុខឿន វាជាប្អូនប្រុសបង្កើតរបស់អា សម ឯក ឬ អា កក្កដា ឬហៅថា អា កុកស ដែល ហ៊ុន សែន ជួលអោយមកបង្កើតក្រុម ខ្លាបី (ក្បាលខ្លា) ដើម្បីបោកយកលុយខ្មែរពីក្រៅប្រទេស និងបោក ចាប់យកខ្មែរអ្នកស្នេហាជាតិពិតប្រាកដ យកទៅ ដាក់គុក នៅព្រៃស ។ ប៉ាង សុខឿន វាខំលាក់ អត្តសញ្ញាណ មិនអោយគេដឹងថា វាជាប្អូនប្រុស របស់អា សម ឯក មេចលនាក្បាលខ្លាដែលបោក គេនោះទេ ។

Anonymous said...

Actually, if we want to interpret or explain about MOU 2000, we require the legal expert or international law professor to explain it because this MOU is related to international law. If we just pick up only article 5 of the MOU 2000 and explain it, it is not the right way to do at all. There is no democratic country in this world will do like that either.

It is so obvious pattern that Pang Sokheoun has learned from his mentor (Fugitive Sam Rainsy) in picking up one article and interpret it in his own opinion without having any legal expert to support his topic. No international law expert as his reference, it doesn't surprise me because of his narrow mind, but the thing that amazing me most is Pang Sokheoun has used a thief Siem (Abhisit) views as his reference. What ashamed! I want to know which school that taught Pang Sokheoun to use a thief's opinion rather than legal expert as his reference in interpretation of MOU?

In my opinion, I think that what is Pang Sokheoun said in this article is the same way that PAD in Thailand as well as Abhisit have tried to explain to Thai people about the verdict of Preah Vihear in 1962. They always claimed that the ICJ's verdict had mentioned only temple is under Cambodia's sovereignty, but not land 4.6 Km2 surrounding it. Despite, the ICJ's verdict didn't mentioned about the land surrounding Preah Vihear temple, but the World Court has recognized the map which made by Frence. According to that map, the land 4.6Km2 is belong to Cambodia. Now, if we look at MOU 2000, in article 1 (c) is stated very clear that Thailand recognized the map and treaty between France and Siam in 1904 and 1907. Therefore, the demarcation of both countries can't change beside the map 1:2000,000 at all.

Since, Cambodia has border dispute with Thailand in July 2008 until now, there is no political analysis or western media have said that "MOU 2000--the Root cause of Thai-Cambodian Conflicts" like a disgraced Pang Sokhoeun's opinion at all. It seems he just came from the jungle.

Khmer in Sydney CBD

Anonymous said...

As I know Pang Sokheoun is often insulted the CPP supporters and really arrogant with his knowledge. Now, he is under attacked by a little boy in Sydney. I agree with you Khmer in sydney CBD.

Anonymous said...

Pang Sokheoun is a brother of Som Ark, that is why he is really hate Cambodian government. Because of personal revenge he will do and say whatever to insult the CPP. Shame on you.