A Change of Guard

សូមស្តាប់វិទ្យុសង្គ្រោះជាតិ Please read more Khmer news and listen to CNRP Radio at National Rescue Party. សូមស្តាប់វីទ្យុខ្មែរប៉ុស្តិ៍/Khmer Post Radio.
Follow Khmerization on Facebook/តាមដានខ្មែរូបនីយកម្មតាម Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/khmerization.khmerican

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Time for a deal [between Cambodia and Thailand]

From the Dawn Newspaper
18th October, 2011

THE flood crisis notwithstanding, Thai-Cambodian relations remain one of the government’s top priority issues. On the surface, everything changed right after the July 3 election. From high, dangerous tension, relations with our neighbour switched to sweetness and light. But that welcome switch masks several hard truths, arguably the most important of which is the sea boundary. …The issue [is] … the controversial Memorandum of Understanding … The MoU is a polite understanding that keeps Thai-Cambodian relations on an even keel. But it does not address or solve the underlying problems. These include where the Thai-Cambodian border lies, and more helpfully how the countries can exploit the oil and gas deposits beneath the shallow waters. Within days of taking office, [Foreign Minister] Surapong huddled with senior officials to discuss the MoU. He quickly won the backing of these foreign relations professionals to move ahead. The first problem is that the MoU itself is only a fragile basis. It was negotiated by the Chuan Leekpai government more than a decade ago and signed in 2001.

As they did with the Preah Vihear temple region and other border issues, nationalists flayed sitting governments for allegedly ‘giving in’ to Cambodia. …The erstwhile government of Abhisit Vejjajiva effectively shelved the MoU … Now, according to Mr Surapong, foreign ministry bureaucrats insist the MoU is valid. This is good news. The ministry under Mr Surapong has set up a special committee to conduct negotiations with Cambodia. There are two aims here: one is to clearly demarcate the border so that everyone understands exactly where the frontier lies. The second is to establish a bilateral body to enable joint development of the natural resources. Energy Minister Pichai Naripthaphan last week noted the reason these aims are important: “Thailand will run out of gas in 15 years.” …The government must ensure that Hun Sen’s Cambodian authorities negotiate these issues in good faith. PM Yingluck must also assure that the anti-Cambodian nationalists who nearly derailed relations in 2008 and 2009 do not prevail. In recent years, politicians have not done a very good job of handling relations with our eastern neighbour. … — (Oct 18)

No comments: