The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678
The Mirror was created to mirror the Khmer language press – that is to focus on important dynamics in society, as they are reflected in the press. That includes also to observe when there seem to be discrepancies between different streams of reporting. And it includes also to observe what seems not to be reported in the Khmer language press, though one would expect it.
Monitoring what is going on includes also to observe the reaction to one’s own publication. The main website of The Mirror by now gets up to 10,000 visits per month (it started in January 2007 with zero – replacing the former edition printed on paper).
While observing this wide interest with satisfaction, it is also disappointing to see that some important pieces of information, related to the conflicts with Thailand, are regularly not reported in the Khmer press. If this impression is wrong, we would appreciate to be informed which publications and public documents in the Khmer press we missed. The Mirror does not have access to confidential information; what we use and quote is publicly available, especially on the Internet.
In response to careful, detailed documentations, where we asked for specific responses, if our documentation is deficient, so that we can correct and improve it, there was either no response – and the public debate continues as if it were not missing some important points – or I get mail saying just “You are completely wrong!” I do not mind to get such mail, if it points to where I am wrong – I appreciate corrections.
Therefore I am repeating here some essential points, and I will do so until they are receiving proper attention in the present situation of tensions.
I was utterly surprised, talking recently to a friend who is a regular reader: when I mentioned some of the facts which had been on The Mirror repeatedly, he had obviously missed them. He thought the controversies about the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage list were related to Thailand referring to maps drawn by Thailand, and therefore Thailand was denying that the whole area around the Temple of Preah Vihear was designated a World Heritage Site.
The contrary is true, according to the documents. Emphasis in the following sections is added during editing.
For Preah Vihear
From the Cambodian 2008 submission document, THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR – Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO), Edited by the Council of Ministers, PHNOM PENH, JUNE 2008:
On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand… The meeting was conducted in a fruitful and constructive atmosphere to discuss ways and means of strengthening the neighborly cooperation for a further reach for long lasting cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand… The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.
And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An,…The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support for the Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For its part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple.
On 18 June 2008, a Joint Communique was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, including a map presented and signed by Mr. Var Kim Hong, the Head of the Cambodian Border Committee, which was – as far as we know – never presented in the media in Cambodia (again – any correction of this information is welcome), but it was repeatedly in The Mirror, including the Cambodian proposed map for the listing, the last time here. The text says the following:
1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;..”
This is the last public map, a Cambodian map, which was to “supersede” – that is: to replace – the formerly used Cambodian maps.
As a consequence, this was decided:
The World Heritage Committee,
9. Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;…
14. Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners,…
15. Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents: c) Confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP [“revised graphic plan of the property”]; d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan)
All these points were to be implemented after convening this international coordinating committee, inviting the Government of Thailand and others, to work together and to present their results.
– Why is the discussion in the Khmer media not referring to the official documents about the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, clearly limited in nature: “only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves.” This is not based on a map unilaterally drawn by Thailand, but it relates to what the Cambodian side had officially brought to the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There is nothing to be discussed with Thailand.”
– Why are the Khmer media disregarding that there were – from the beginning – the following requests by the World Heritage Committee: “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand… [to provide the expected results] – a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone…” It has never been reported in the press that the Cambodian Government did invite the Thai Government according to this request by the World Heritage Committee. – There were even statements from people in official positions saying: “There are no buffer zones.”
Reading the documents, it seems that Thailand is not insisting on some unilaterally drawn Thai maps, but looks forward that the documented decisions of the World Heritage Committee be implemented.
For the Border
This is a different legal issue from the World Heritage Listing (though, of course, related).
In order to demarcate the border between the two countries, a Memorandum of Understanding “on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary” was concluded between the two countries in June 2000, long before the Preah Vihear World Heritage Listing was on the agenda of the relevant UNESCO committee. This Memorandum is related to the whole stretch of the border. That the whole length of the approximately 800 km border is to be demarcated shows that both sides agreed that this is not yet done – there is not yet mutually agreed border. Both sides agreed on this – otherwise they would not have signed this joint agreement.
While there is frequent reference to this Memorandum of Understanding from 2000 in the Khmer press, it was quite difficult to find it in Cambodia, also consulting with several persons from the media did not help. One e-mail request to a friend in Thailand immediately provided a source on the Internet.
But there is a noteworthy difference in the handling of the related task: While in Thailand, related government officials and agencies are accountable to the Thai National Assembly about what they do related to the border – the executive is monitored by the legislative – we are not aware that either the Cambodian National Assembly nor the Khmer press have requested similar information to monitor the activities of the Cambodian government officials and agencies involved. The different legal arrangements under the different constitutions of both countries result in different procedures.
Shortly after Prime Minister Hun Sen had made his conciliatory declaration about a win-win solution by mutual dialogue without a winner and a loser, several statements from various other sectors of the government were released, strongly blaming Thailand and calling for multilateral negotiations. The Prime Minister added his voice – but more recent news say that there still may be a bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers soon in Brussels at an ASEN meeting.
Whatever the future will bring in terms of bilateral or multilateral meetings – the written submissions and the documented decisions will have to be faced. To continue to disregard them can hardly bring the solution where both sides win, the goal that Prime Minister Hun Sen has seen as important for all.
Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.
When the media in both countries – Cambodia and Thailand – quote various sources to make conflicting claims, it is again an occasion to try to mirror these sources and leave it to our readers to draw their conclusions.
As ever, such a statement is always combined with the invitation to point out if the sources we quote are misquoted, or if there is an important reference missing. But it is not convincing to accuse the writer of this documentation simply to be wrong without showing substantive evidence, as happens sometimes. What follows is all based on publicly available documents. But as this case is complex, the following text is long; maybe a lot of confusion comes from not reading the texts. The pieces presented here were selected in the hope that some quick negative conclusions – not based on available texts, either disregarding, or even contradicting them – can be clarified. All this is written, to quote words from the final agreements negotiated by Senior Minister Sok An with representatives of Thailand and UNESCO before the decisive meeting of the World Heritage Committee in July 2008 – in a spirit of friendship and cooperation, in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation – as it is stated in the final joint document before the 2008 decisions.
The Early History
Going back in history is often necessary to clarify facts. But their meaning may have changed over time. As a German, I know that there was a time when the Germans considered that Karl der Grosse, crowned in the year 800 – not long before the temple of Preah Vihear was started to be built – is at the beginning of our German history, while also the French considered Charlemagne as their’s. Actually, at his time, he ruled over large parts of western and central Europe, not over France or Germany as they exist now. But since the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Robert Schuman – a French with a good German name – took the initiative in 1950 to create again common political entities in Europe – the European Union – we have almost forgotten the old historical and emotional divides.
There is a long pre-history for the present history of the Preah Vihear conflicts. But for the discussion of the present situation, it may be enough to start in 1962, when the International Court of Justice in The Hague came to the conclusion that it …FINDS THAT THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR IS SITUATED IN TERRITORY UNDER THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CAMBODIA.
Cambodian comments often go further back. Maybe this is not necessary, as the 1962 court ruling is not questioned by the political leadership of the governments of both sides, in spite of the fact that this is often disregarded or denied.
It is not surprising that some people, even some people with a wide group of supporters, have taken different positions. The present government of Thailand accepts the 1962 verdict. Whoever doubts this, should provide quotable evidence. Last week, after a group of Thai nationalists had demonstrated in front of the UNESCO office in Bangkok on 27.7.2010, rejecting any discussion of the status of Preah Vihear by the World Heritage Committee, the Thai prime minister invited representatives of the People’s Alliance for Democracy – PAD, widely overlapping in membership with the “Yellow-Shirts” – to clarify where he does not agree, and where he agrees with them. “The PAD wanted an end to the Thai-Cambodia Memorandum of Understanding, because it ‘turned a Thai territory into a disputed territory.’ But Abhisit thought that the MOU turned a territory that Cambodia thought to belong to them, to become a disputed territory. The PAD wanted the government to boycott the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil, because attending the meeting would signify that Thailand accepted the listing of Preah Vihear as a world heritage site, and only disagreed with the temple’s management plan. But for the Thai prime minister, it is exactly the present management plan which he did not want to see accepted.
To disregard this point is obviously confusing, not clarifying, the state of affairs.
Or is it this way of interpreting the MOU – the Joint Communique – assumed to by the Thai prime minister’s one, also a reason why the media in Cambodia never published the Joint Communique (details further down), neither in Khmer nor in English? It is difficult to understand why such an important document, including a new Cambodian draws map, which was discussed in parliament in Thailand, was not – at that time or later – presented also to the Cambodian public.
The Preparations toward the Listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear
The inscription into the World Heritage List was first proposed by Prime Minister Hun Sen to the UNESCO Director General on 10 October 2001. The necessary detailed documentation was submitted on 20 January 2006. The Cambodian Nomination File was considered by the next session of the World Heritage committee, meeting from 23 June to 2 July 2007 in Christchurch/New Zealand.
Some of the detailed discussions and decisions of the World Heritage Committee may be surprising, as they are very practically oriented, according to the purpose of the World Heritage List, as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. It is not about national interests, but about culture as “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.”
Whilst fully respecting the sovereignty of the States on whose territory the cultural and natural heritage… is situated, and without prejudice to property right provided by national legislation, the States Parties to this Convention recognize that such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate. (Article 6.1).
The inclusion of a property situated in a territory, sovereignty or jurisdiction over which is claimed by more than one State, shall in no way prejudice the rights of the parties to the dispute. (Article 11.3).
Therefore the Draft Summary Record of the decisions from the 2007 meeting show that the concerns of the World Heritage Committee are of an eminently practical nature, as the purpose of any listings is to make the cultural heritage of the world easily accessible. The notes from the Committee show this clearly:
Having taken note of the willingness to collaborate for the safeguarding of the property of the Sacred Temple of Preah Vihear, expressed by the States Parties of Cambodia and Thailand in the framework of the meetings of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, Requests the State Party of Cambodia to implement, in close co-operation with the neighboring Government of Thailand, detailed arrangements for the conservation of the property, based on the principles expressed by the two States Parties at the 5th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand, especially in respect of:
a) Joint management;
b) The continued open border;
c) Mine clearance;
d) Protection of the natural forest areas surrounding the property, especially of small areas where burning has been recently observed on the Cambodian territory.
The formal decision from 2007 states not details, but simply the procedure to be followed:
The State Party of Cambodia and the State Party of Thailand are in full agreement that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear has Outstanding Universal Value and must be inscribed on the World Heritage List as soon as possible.
Accordingly, Cambodia and Thailand agree that Cambodia will propose the site for formal inscription on the World Heritage List at the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in 2008 with the active support of Thailand…
The World Heritage Committee, further requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit a progress report to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2008.
As a result of the understanding achieved at the 2007 meeting, preparations for 2008 started, marked by a number of joint Cambodian-Thai agreements and declarations. They are all quoted in the very large 2008 Submission Document:
THE TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR
Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO)
Edited by the Council of Ministers
This document, presented to the public in the name of the Council of Ministers, in English (later, before the World Heritage Committee Meeting, it was also made available in Arab, French, and Spanish), presents the positive common experiences on the way to the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear, saying:
In a spirit of friendship, neighborliness and mutual understanding between the two countries, the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand have been working together in recent months to strengthen dialogue and consultation in a number of areas of mutual interests. These fruitful developments focus in particular on inscribing the TEMPLE OF PREAH VIHEAR on the World Heritage List in 2008. Thailand has confirmed its decision, as expressed at the 31st Session of the World Heritage Committee held in Christchurch (New Zealand, 23 June to 2 July 2007), to support the inscription of the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear.
These confirmations were made:
Firstly, by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Samak Sundaravej, on the occasion of his visit to Phnom Penh on 3 and 4 March 2008 at the invitation of His Excellency Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia
On 6 May 2008 His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, welcomed his Excellency Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand accompanied by a Thai delegation during their visit to Phnom Penh. The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.
And finally, during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation led by His Excellency Mr. SOK An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers and a Thai Delegation led by His Excellency Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand in the presence of a number of UNESCO eminent members, led by Her Excellency the Deputy Director General of UNESCO for Culture, Mrs. Françoise RIVIERE. The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support Heritage Committee to be held in Quebec, Canada in July 2008. For it part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple
This wording became part of the JOINT COMMUNIQUE of 18 June 2008, a joint Cambodian-Thai-UNESCO declaration, the last common step towards the World Heritage Committee meeting on 8 July 2008.
On 22 May 2008, a meeting took place between H.E. Mr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Cambodia and H.E. Mr. Noppadon Pattama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, to continue their discussion regarding the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List. The meeting was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in the presence of Mrs. Françoise Rivière, Assistant Director General for Culture of UNESCO, Ambassador Francesco Caruso, Mr. Azedine Beschaouch, Mrs. Paola Leoncini Bartoli and Mr. Giovanni Boccardi. The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation. During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:
- The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Quebec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
- In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
- The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schema Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
- Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Center by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
- The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries; 6. The Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand express their profound appreciation to the Director-General of UNESCO, H.E. Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, for his kind assistance in facilitating the process towards the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List.
Phnom Penh, 18 June 2008 Bangkok, 18 June 2008 For the Royal Government For the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, of Thailand, (signed) (signed) Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers Paris, 18 June 2008 Representative of the UNESCO (signed) Assistant Director-General for Culture
There had been some final problems: The Cambodian side, represented by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and Senior Minister in Charge of Border Affairs Var Kimhong – “in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation” – negotiated and made incisive decisions (having the former Cambodian map as well as graphic references, referring to the 1962 decisions “superseded” by the new Cambodian side map presented here, declaring that Cambodia “accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – all this without much discussion in the Cambodian public. On the other side, however, the Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs was instructed by the Constitutional Court of Thailand that the government would need, for such decision, the authorization by the Thai parliament.
In spite of these last minute reservations, the World Heritage Committee declared the Temple of Preah Vihear a World Heritage site. Instead of peaceful continued cooperation, confrontation and violence followed.
As far as we were able to monitor the Khmer media, the Joint Communique, and the appended map, were never published in the Cambodia press. Neither were the conditions published, which accompanied the listing of the Temple of Preah Vihear. The Decisions of the World Heritage Committee, meeting from 2 to 10 July 2008 in Quebec/Canada, state the following (excerpts):
“The World Heritage Committee,
- Recalling Decision 31 COM 8B.24, which recognized ‘that the Sacred Site of the Temple of Preah Vihear is of great international significance and has Outstanding Universal Value on the basis of criteria (i), (iii) and (iv), and agreed in principle that it should be inscribed on the World Heritage List’,
- Recognizing that the Joint Communique signed on 18 June 2008 by the representatives of the Governments of Cambodia and Thailand, as well as by UNESCO, including its draft which was erroneously referred to as having been signed on 22 and 23 May 2008 in the document WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add.2, must be disregarded, following the decision of the Government of Thailand to suspend the effect of the Joint Communique, pursuant to the Thai Administrative Court’s interim injunction on this issue,
- Notes that the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves;
- Encourages Cambodia to collaborate with Thailand for safeguarding the value of the property, in view of the fact that peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear,…
- Inscribes the Temple of Preah Vihear, Cambodia, on the World Heritage List…
- Requests the State Party of Cambodia, in collaboration with UNESCO, to convene an international coordinating committee for the safeguarding and development of the property no later than February 2009, inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners, to examine general policy matters relating to the safeguarding of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in conformity with international conservation standards;
Requests the State Party of Cambodia to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2009, the following documents:
a) a provisional map providing additional details of the inscribed property and a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
b) updated Nomination dossier to reflect the changes made to the perimeter of the property
c) Confirmation that the management zone for the property will include the inscribed property and buffer zone identified in the RGPP;
d) progress report on the preparation of the Management Plan.
These requirements – to convene an international coordinating committee, to cooperate with the Thai government, to provide a map delineating the buffer zone identified in the Cambodian government – were, according to our monitoring of the press in Cambodia, never published, nor any information about the content of reports submitted by the Cambodian side. Quite to the contrary, and surprisingly, a highly placed spokesperson at the Cambodian Council of Ministers, distanced himself from the results achieved by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, claiming that “there is no buffer zone,” and ‘there is nothing to be negotiated with Thailand.”
After a year of tensions, confrontations, and occasional fighting, the World Heritage Committee, meeting in Sevilla/Spain from 22 June to 30 June 2009, could not do much more than the following; it
Requests the State Party [of Cambodia] to submit to the World Heritage Center, by 1 February 2010, a report on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations by the Committee in its Decision 32 COM 8B.102 [2008 in Quebec/Canada], for the examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.” The decision 32 COM 8B.102 is the one which requests, as stated above, “to convene an international coordinating committee… inviting the participation of the Government of Thailand and not more than seven other appropriate international partners…
In spite of these clear requests by the World Heritage Committee for cooperation, the Thai government declared, even some days before the recent meeting in Brazil, that they had not received any invitation to cooperate, nor information about the Cambodian submission. As a result, representatives of the Thai government, up to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, stated that Thailand could not accept a decision about a management plan, though Thailand would have had to be involved in its consideration, if previous recommendations of the World Heritage Committee would have been implemented.
On the other hand, there were various statements from the Cambodian side – quite different from the spirit of friendship and conciliation, which had been regularly invoked in former joint statements. The following is published especially because it is so different from the attitude in which Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, Minister of the Council of Ministers, had brought forward the process toward the listing of Preah Vihear in 2008. Under the date 29.6.2010, the Spokesman & Deputy Director, Office of the Council of Ministers’ Press Department, distributed an opinion text widely to many members of the media, written by Pen Ngoeun, Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers, member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers – with the following qualifying note: “This article represents only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the PRU nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers. Considering the way of its distribution and the pubic positions of the author and of the person who distributed the text, and its timing, it seem to be worth while to quote some sections from it:
29 June 2010
WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END:
Will it end one day, and soon enough, after 150 years of its happening? Cambodia had nothing to do with it.
Its source was the failure of Siam King Mong Kut and his ministers. Colonel F. Bernard, President of the French Commission for the delimitation of the French-Siamese border in virtue of the Convention of 13 February 1904 had made an observation about the Thais, which is worth remembered. He said: “the superiority of their self-esteem was the primary cause of their troubles and misfortune… He wrote in a book published in 1933, “L’Ecole des Diplomates, within the context of the Thai diplomacy during the reign of king Mong Kut of Thailand, the reign of King Ang Duong of Cambodia and the mission of M. de Montigny, the plenipotentiary of the French Emperor Napoleon III to the court of King Mong Kut. Colonel F. Bernard had mentioned as well that: “The ministers of Siam have had negotiated for a long time already with England and America; they have the intelligence and the ability of the Westerners, which obviously had made them to acquire that “superiority of their self-esteem” which is equated in recent times to “arrogance” and “condescension” which are the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with “former terrorist” turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides… In 1853 King Ang Duong of Cambodia wrote a letter to the French Emperor Napoleon III to express his friendship and solicit his support. The immediate consequence of which had been to stop the armies of Siam from marching at will into Cambodia to conquest and ravage the many provinces of Cambodia to the West and North, and to relieve Cambodia from paying tributes to Bangkok. Siam, now Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since…
The arrogance, the condescension, and the obstinacy which cause the failure of King Mong Kut and his ministers from executing the annexation policy by annihilating Cambodia and her people create an endless nostalgia that Thailand had never allowed itself to wake up and liberate itself from the bad dream of the hungry mad dog. Therefore, Thailand’s territorial ambition on Cambodian territories has become its grand design to be executed by the government of Thailand if any of such a government wishes to have a reasonable life span. From then on, Thailand has learn, acquired, and mastered the art of distortion of the facts, dissemination of misinformation and disinformation, the art of accusation, of denial with arrogance, condescension and obstinacy… In 1954, not even a mere one year after Cambodia acquired full independence from France, Thai armed forces occupied the Temple of Preah Vihear, to be ordered out by the international will, the LaHaye ICJ Judgments of 15 June 1962. Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List. Again, Thailand’s arrogance, condescension, and obstinacy were its primary troubles and misfortune. In 2008, the Temple of Preah Vihear was inscribed unanimously on the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee…
And again, some sections of another opinion piece, from the same origin, distributed in the same way, on 13.7.2010:
Thailand plans to oppose a management plan for the Preah Vihear temple while overlapping territory nearby remains subject to dispute, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya says. Cambodia does not have “an overlapping territory” with Thailand. There was a claim by Thailand that uses the unilateral map in similar fashion as the Nazis (led by Hitler) and the Fascists (led by Mussolini) for the purpose sending troops to invade and occupy foreign territory.
One cannot be sure if this is an attack against Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, or whether Mr. Pen Ngoeun, though he is an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers, a member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers, does not know that the documents, elaborated with great care by the Deputy Prime Minister, spell out in detail the buffer zones, otherwise referred to as overlapping territories, and it was the Cambodian side, that presented a map to “supersede” the formerly used maps, relating to the 1962 decision of the International Court of Justice.
To make sure that Kasit does not bang his head too much against the wall from trying to come up with new innuendo, suggestion and speculation, here is a crude fact to chew: The Temple of Preah Vihear has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2008. Kasit need to pick up the WHC 32 COM 8B. 102 and read it… It is clear from a few sentences above, that Cambodia has implemented the requirements of the World Heritage Committee – WHC – and has conformed herself to the procedures set forth by the Committee. And NOT to leave the door wide open for speculation and mind twisting, Deputy permanent secretary for culture Somsuda Leyananija has the task to tell the truth, as to why… Let’s play the game, fair and square in conformity with the WHC rules and procedures.
It s reported that Cambodia had submitted a progress report to the World Heritage Secretariat, but two weeks before the meeting in Brazil, it had neither be distributed to the members of the committee, it had not been shared with Thailand – in spite of the recommendation by the World Heritage Committee that Cambodia should seek such cooperation – and its content had also not been made available to the public in Cambodia. None of the UNESCO and World Heritage Committee Press Releases, which describe in detail the many decisions taken recently in Brazil, make any reference to Preah Vihear. But the fact that the Cambodian report was forwarded again to next year’s meeting – similarly to what had been done also from 2009 to 2010 – is now reported in Cambodia as a big victory for Cambodia. Asked about his comment, the Thai prime minister said: “Please find out and read the resolution yourself.”
The official Cambodian side acted differently: within 4 hours, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers issued two long statements on 2.8.2010, a “Summary” about the Brazil session, mainly referencing questions of the conservation of the site without reference to any past action taken by the formerly requested joint international elaboration of plans, and some hours later a “Clarification,” stressing that “it was Cambodia who has achieved immense victory,” because the World Heritage Committee:
Takes note that the World Heritage Center has the documents submitted by the State Party;
Further welcomes the steps taken by the State Party towards the establishment of an international coordinating committee for the sustainable conservation of the Temple of Preah Vihear’
Decides to consider the documents submitted by the State Party at its 35th session in 2011.
These are the officially recorded successes. The Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers adds, however, some remarks about a Thai “intoxication campaign” against the Cambodian management plan, a campaign which “was a total debacle because Thailand had no substantive arguments.” The Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Council of Ministers presented its own arguments as follows:
On the contrary, the Thai intoxication campaigns’ spending of B10 millions with the dispatch of 50 delegates in order to oppose the management plan at the site of the Cambodian Temple of Preah Vihear, was a total debacle because Thailand had no substantive arguments against the World Heritage Centre Report of the two documents submitted by Cambodia. Moreover, Thailand has failed in its efforts to have the Temple inscribed by the two countries, and has failed in its efforts to have joint management of the Temple.
The Press and Quick Reaction unit of the Office of Council of Ministers notes that the signing of the Compromise Decision 34 COM, 7B.66 by Cambodia, Thailand, and witnessed by the Chairperson for the 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Brazil clearly affirmed the recognition by all parties concerned of the official documents concerning the Management Plan for the conservation and sustainable development at the site of the Cambodian Temple of Preah Vihear, which had never been recognized previously.
It is obvious that the intoxication campaign by the Thai Government to lure the local and international public opinion has adversely damaged its own image and credit as an old saying which goes “If you fan the flame, you blow up the fire or As you sow, so shall you reap.”
To underline further the failure of the Thai Government, it must be stressed for the benefits of the public and international opinion that it is not like what the Thai Government claimed that it had succeeded to “postpone”the Management Plan to next year. In fact, the WHC final decision did not mention either about the terms Postpone – Defer or Delay but choose to use the wording Consider which means that the documents submitted by Cambodia, namely the Progress Report on the State of Conservation and Development of Preah Vihear and its Management Plan, were officially received by WHC and will consider it at the next session.
Much information is available – what will be the next steps? One journalist suggests that “facing reality” may be the only way out, and this includeds new open, mutual talking, again “in a spirit of friendship and cooperation, in the spirit of goodwill and conciliation”
Part of the reality is also geography.
This picture provides a view over the Temple of Preah Vihear: 500 meters down, to the left, is the landscape of the Cambodian Province of Preah Vihear; the temple lies at a different level, high above the plain. Until mid 2008, it was easily accessible for thousands of tourists, approaching the Temple of Preah Vihear from the Thai side, on the right of the picture, from the Khao Pra Viharn National Park.
After all, a World Heritage Site is according, to the UNESCO World Heritage concept, “part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.”
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The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics – Wednesday, 21.4.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 661
“Phnom Penh: The United States of America launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics with US$16.2 million to promote accountability and transparency in the Cambodian government.
“The program was launched on 20 April 2010 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh, and it was chaired by the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and by the US Ambassador to Cambodia, Ms. Carol A. Rodley.
“The United States Agency for International Development [USAID] developed this Accountability in Governance and Politics 5-year program, aimed at assisting Cambodia by encouraging the government to be responsible for implementing their policies through: 1. Strengthening of accountability, transparency, and broad access to information; 2. Creation of modern leadership; and 3. Support for the electoral systems.
This program will provide US$7.2 million to the International Republican Institute from 2009 to 2014, concentrating on consolidating the capacity of civil servants and of officials of political parties through the analysis of public surveys and through the creation of effective strategies for decision making.
“This program also offers US$6.08 million to the National Democratic Institute for increasing transparency over decisions of the government, and for further strengthening the access to public information about policy formation.
“The program also provides US$2.29 million to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems to strengthen the understanding of politics and the participation by women in government positions.
“Ms. Carol A. Rodley said that democracy in Cambodia is young, but it has progressed much since the first elections in 1993. She added that the United States of America hopes to cooperate with related institutions of the government, with civil society, and with all political parties to strengthen democracy in Cambodia. She went on to say, ‘I am exited about the extensive consolidation of skills and of experiences that these organizations have contributed to Cambodia, with which they can implement the projects at their areas. I believe that we will see positive results within five years.’
“On the same occasion, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An highly assessed USAID for initiating and for funding this crucial program, and he hopes that it will contribute to promote the understanding and the participation of citizens in creating and implementing various policies that are more accountable and more transparent, so as to lead to a broader implementation of democracy in Cambodia.
“He added that the projects to be implemented are also consistent with the political program of the Royal Government that is encouraging the participation from all circles in the process to establish policies, in project organization, and in different decisions made by the Royal Government through consultations to ensure a balanced progress in Cambodia. The Royal Government clearly stated that civil society and non-government organizations are important partners for economic and social development, as well as for the strengthening of democracy and the respect for human rights in Cambodia.
“He hopes that these projects will be implemented equally and faithfully by the three organizations, according to their goals, in order to join with the Royal Government to strengthen democracy, development, and the implementation of polices to further develop the economy and the society.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #458, 21.4.2010
- The Asian Development Bank [ADB] Predicted that the Cambodian GDP Will Grow by 4.5% in 2010 and by 6% in 2011 [if the global economic growth is in line with the forecast of the ADB, and if the climate is favorable for agricultural cultivation in Cambodia]
- Samdech Hun Sen Will Lead a Delegation to Attend the Inauguration of the Expo 2010 Shanghai [in China on 29 April 2010]
- The Number of People Killed by an Earthquake in China [in the northwest] Rose to 2,000
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6920, 21.4.2010
- The Municipal Court Issued a Warrant to Bring Mr. Sam Rainsy to the Court [for a hearing, not for arrest] over an Accusation that He Faked Public Maps
- A Fierce Lightning Storm Killed Six People during a Rain in the Early Visakh Lunar Month in Bakan District [Pursat – the Visakh month is the second month in the traditional lunar calendar, in 2010 extending from the end of March to the end of April]
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3859, 21.4.2010
- The Asian Development Bank Found that the Rate of Poor Khmer Citizens Strongly Increased in Rural Areas
Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.154, #1, 21.4.2010
- Asian Development Bank: Cambodia Lacks behind Its Neighboring Countries in the Garment Sector and in Tourism
- [The Former Phnom Penh police chief, now jailed at the Prey Sar Prison] Heng Pov Published a Book Praising [Prime Minister] Hun Sen’s Politics [“The Strategy of Putting the Fire of War in Cambodia to an End” – ហេងពៅ “យុទ្ធសាស្ត្ររំលត់ភ្លើងសង្គ្រាមនៅកម្ពុជា”]
- The Land Dispute in Amleang Commune Is Still Hot as There Is Still No Solution [about 500 villagers continue to protest against Oknha and Senator Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company encroaching on what they claim is their land]
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5177, 21.4.2010
- The United States of America Launched a Program of Accountability in Governance and Politics
- [Twenty seven] Foreign Journalists from the time of the War between 1970 and 1975 Arrived in Cambodia Again [for a reunion, and they were welcomed by the Minister of Information, Mr. Khieu Kanharith]
- [The President of the Cambodian People’s Party and of the Senate] Samdech Chea Sim Welcomes the Former Head of State of Vietnam [Mr. Trần Đức Lương (Tran Duc Luong} during his visit to Cambodia to strengthen the ties and good cooperation between both countries]
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Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse – Saturday, 3.4.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 658
“Phnom Penh: Cambodia is not surprised about the announcement of the US Department of State to suspend military aid for Cambodia. In the afternoon of 1 April 2010, during the daily press conference of the US Department of State in Washington, the spokesperson, Mr. Philip Crowley, announced the decision of the United States of America to suspend donating about 200 military trucks and trailers. According to Mr. Philip Crowley, the suspension was decided because Cambodia deported Uighurs, who had sought asylum in Cambodia, to the Beijing authorities in December 2009.
“The Spokesperson of the Cambodian government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, said, ‘This aid suspension is not a problem. If they grant it, we say thanks for it. Anyway, the trucks are not new. They are used vehicles to be provided to others, to clean out their storage. But the United States of America should not take the case of the Uighurs as an excuse to put blame on Cambodia.’ He said so to journalists in the afternoon of 2 April 2010.
“The spokesperson of the government blamed the United States of America and the UNHCR for their slow work which had not led to any results to take the Uighurs out of Cambodia to a third country – and now they put the blame on the Cambodian government! Mr. Khieu Kanharith recalled, ‘When the Uighurs were hiding in Cambodia for over one month, the Cambodian authorities did not know this. The Chinese government did not know it either. But during this period, even the UN human rights office and some US organizations could not determine whether those Uighurs were political refugees or who they were. When they saw they could not handle this, they decided to announce it to journalists.
“The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, considered the US statement as their own decision, and an affair of the United States of America. Mr. Koy Kuong added, ‘Cambodia worked based on its rights and integrity.’
“During a previous meeting between Mr. Scott Marciel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr. Hor Namhong, the Minister had explained to him that the expulsion of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia was just implemented according to Cambodian immigration law.
“A State Department official tells The Cable that just before the Cambodian government sent the ethnic Uighurs back to China, where they face imprisonment or worse, there were a flurry of diplomatic efforts to try to convince the Cambodians to hold off. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even phoned Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong to urge him to rethink the decision, the official said, but to no avail.”
“The deportation of 20 Uighurs from Cambodia in December 2009 is a sensitive case for the US administration. The US Department of State reacted since the beginning and used serious words. Washington even said that the decision of Cambodia to deport the Uighurs to the Beijing authorities will affect the relations between the United States of America and Cambodia.
“The spokesperson of the Cambodian government claimed that there is still no visible effect on the Cambodian-US ties due to the suspension of military aid.
“The spokesperson of the US Embassy in Cambodia, Mr. John Johnson, said that the latest announcement by the US Department of States is only related to military assistance. It is a suspension without a specific time-line. He said, ‘This is a special and worrying case. But the United States of America will continue to cooperate with Cambodia in other fields.’ According to this spokesperson, the US military aid provided to Cambodia since 2006 amounted to about US$6 million.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #451, 3.4.2010
- About US$248 Million Were Wasted due to Traffic Accidents in 2009 [according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport]
- 309 Families from Chhlong District Protested against Land Grabbing by the Kastim Company [for prohibiting them to do farming on the land that they have been cultivating for a long time – Kratie]
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2218, 3.4.2010
- The United States of America Suspends the Donation of 200 Military Trucks to Cambodia
- In 2009 1,717 Citizens Died from Land Traffic Accidents in Cambodia [7,022 were seriously injured; there were 12,535 accidents – according to Handicap International Belgium]
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010
- The Phnom Penh Municipal Court Summoned Mr. Sam Rainsy for the Second Time for Questioning [over the accusation of using fake maps to document border cases, and for disinformation – he is required to appear at the court on 20 April 2010]
- [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mr. Yim Sovann Expressed Regrets that the United States of America Cut Military Aid to Cambodia
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6925, 3-4.4.2010
- More Than 100 Persons Are under Arrest for Forestry Crimes [including powerful persons and wood traders – according to Mr. Ty Sokun, Director, Department of Forestry and Wildlife, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries]
- [Pailin Governor] Ea Chhean Sued the Pailin Forestry Chief for Colluding with Wood Traders Who Organized to Cut Trees of Some Mountains from Top to Foot
- Four Forestry Officials Were Removed form Their Positions, and the Municipal Court Issued Arrest Warrants for Four Other Wood Traders [over illegal wood trading – Kompong Cham]
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3849, 3-4.4.2010
- The United States of America Temporarily Suspends Military Assistance, Straining the Military Ties between Both Countries Again
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5167, 3.4.2010
- Cambodia Announced that the United States of America Suspends Military Aid, but Said the Uighurs’ Case Should Not Be Taken as Excuse
- Phnom Penh: Laying Culverts Is More Important Than Constructing Roads [because the culvert system left from the past is almost totally ruined, which results in floods in the city]
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The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 657
“The Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, said that in 2009, the Ministry was able to earn Riel 129,949,000,000 [approx. US$31 million] for the nation.
“Mr. Cham Prasidh said during a meeting of the Ministry of Commerce on 24 March 2010 that the income came only from public services that the Ministry provides to private companies.
“The services operated by the Ministry to get income include the registration of commercial operations and of commercial trademarks, the provision of certificates to certify the origin of products, and the checking of product quality, especially for food products for export and import, and for products sold at local markets.
“According to a report on the work in 2009 and on setting goals for 2010, 3,116 trademarks were registered in 2009, where only 698 were trademarks of local companies. Also, in 2009, the Ministry registered commercial operations for 2,045 companies which declined by about 26.5%, compared to 2008. Among those companies, only 39 companies were new companies, a drop by 2.5%.
“The same report added that though the registration of commercial operations declined, foreign investors from Vietnam, Korean, China, Malaysia, and Singapore significantly continue to trust the economic conditions and the political stability in Cambodia.
“The same source continued to say that the registration of export permits, based on the conditions and the origin of the products, covered 243 factories and 26 shoes factories. Those factories employ 320,834 workers who earned about US$27 million as monthly salaries.
“The exports to the United States of America amounted to about US$1.518 billion, which dropped by approximately US$471 million. The exports to Canada were US$198 million, declining by US$4.9 million compared with 2008. The exports to the European Union amounted to US$655 million, a drop by about 18%.
“Exports to other countries also declined. The exports to the American continent, excluding the United States of America and Canada, were about US$34 million, a downturn by about US$11 million. The exports to Europe, excluding the European Union countries, were about US$33 million, a decline by around 23%.
“The report adds that most products that Cambodia exported were garments and other textile products, shoes, rice, handicrafts, beer, and agricultural products, such as pepper.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5160, 26.3.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 26 March 2010
Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #444, 26.3.2010
- [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: The Temporary [Cambodian-Vietnamese] Border Markers Cost Cambodian Territory [he bases this statement on a 1:100,000 French colonial map of 1952, deposited at the United Nations in 1964, and a 1:50,000 map printed by the US Army in 1966]
- The Spokesperson of the Siamese [Thai] Army Rejected [the Cambodian information] that Many Siamese Soldiers Were Killed by Cambodian Soldiers [during armed clashes at the border region near the Preah Vihear Temple]
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2211, 26.3.2010
- The Foreign Trade of Cambodia Declined in 2009 [to US$10 billion, a drop by 10.4%]
- Three Laotian Men Were Arrested in Daun Penh District [Phnom Penh] for Drug Smuggling
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #636, 26.3.2010
- [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Son Chhay: After the Anti-Corruption Law Becomes Valid, the Sam Rainsy Party Will Propose a Law Which Sets Up Proper Salaries for Civil Servants
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6918, 26.3.2010
- Three Suspected Robbers Were Sentenced by Citizens [they stole a motorcycle and were beaten by a mob to death, as police could not stop the beating – Phnom Penh]
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3821, 26.3.2010
- Sam Rainsy: What I Showed [the map and documents] Is Not for Defeating Any Individual [but for the sake of the country], and Prum Chea and Meas Srey Should Be Released as a Humanitarian Gesture [they are in jail for removing border markers in Svay Rieng]
Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #139, 25.3.2010
- 700 Citizens of the Amleang Commune Continue Their Protest to Demand the Release of Their Representatives [detained for burning down the on-site office of Oknha Ly Yong Phat’s sugar company in Kompong Speu]
- Human Rights Watch Asked Cambodia to Amend the Sub-Decree about Refugees [as the present one does not provide enough protection procedures to prevent deportation according to the international convention, which the Cambodian government signed so that Cambodia became a member]
- The Government Plans to Create Public Housing for Poor Citizens for Long Range Rent Periods [of up to 50 years]
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5160, 26.3.2010
- The Ministry of Commerce Announced It Earned Riel 129,949 Million
- The Law about Ownership by Foreigners of Upper Floor Houses Will Be Adopted by the National Assembly Next Week
- The Siem Reap Authorities Intercepted a Third Wood Storehouse, Seizing 523 Pieces of Wood [about 15 cubic meters] and 66 Round Poles
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The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 656
“The spokesperson of the Royal Government told Deum Ampil on 17 March 2010 that a visit by a Chinese delegation to Cambodia concentrates on stepping up commercial ties between both countries, and three memorandums of understanding were to be signed.
“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said that a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hui Liangyu [ 回良玉 ], visits Cambodia for three days from 17 to 19 March 2010. And the visit is not just to improve the already-good relationship with Cambodia, but also to expand commercial ties.
“Mr. Liangyu presided over the signing ceremony of agreements on agriculture, a sector that accounts for almost 27% of the country’s GDP. According to the announcement, another agreement to be signed is in the field of post and telecommunications between the Huawei Technologies of China and the Cambodian telecommunication system of CamGSM.
“It is seen that Cambodia has been successful in agricultural production in the last decade. Also, it is expected that the rice production of Cambodia for 2009-2010 will yield 7.286 million tonnes where 3.1 million tonnes are planned to be exported.
“In February 2010, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen, stated that Cambodia plans to invest US$310 million, including a loan of US$240 million from China, to develop the irrigation systems in the country, a key factor to increase rice production for export.
“Many analysts said that paddy rice is a potential for Cambodian investment, but the opportunity to boost export remains weak, as Cambodia has not had sufficient irrigation systems for rice production.
“The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Chan Sarun, said that the paddy rice cultivation might increase to 3.5 million hectares, while previously, rice was grown on just 2.6 million hectares. And this might yield 12.25 million tonnes.
“In 2008, the total market value of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector remains unchanged at US$429 million in 2008. According to a report of the Cambodian government, for six years, the average growth of the Cambodian post and telecommunications sector was 31%. There are eight mobile phone companies in Cambodia, except for the Mobitel company that is co-owned by Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular [Note: Interesting in the environment of present discussions of planned increased regulations for the telecommunications sector in Cambodia: Millicom International Cellular’s declared Mission is Freedom to access today’s world for people in emerging markets].
“Mobitel, also under the name of Cellcard, http://www.mobitel.com.kh/ offers up to 66% of all services countrywide, followed by Camshin under the name of MFone http://www.mfone.com.kh/ with 12%. It is estimated that Cambodia might have more than 4 million mobile phone users among the population of 14 millions, where 90% of the population lives in rural areas. In addition, Cambodia has a potential for rice investment. Besides China, there are other big donors supporting Cambodia such as Japan and South Korea.
“Besides of the loans provided by the Chinese government to Cambodia, also the Kuwait government agreed to provide a loan of US$546 million to Cambodia, where US$486 million will be used to build up irrigation systems and US$60 million to construct roads in northeastern Cambodia, including in Battambang province, the biggest source of paddy rice. Moreover, Kuwait planned to invest US$200 million on rice production in Cambodia.
“Mr. Chan Sarun said, ‘We have money and we have land. They would not have come to invest if we would not have the potential to expand our agricultural systems.’
“It should be noted that the Chinese government had promised to provide more loans for investments for irrigation such as in Pursat, Prey Veng, and Oddar Meanchey.
“Responding to requests by the head of the Cambodia government to the Chinese government to invest more in Cambodia, the Chinese government eased Cambodian exports to China, allowing Cambodia to export up to 418 items of goods. In 2008, investment from China in Cambodia amounted to US$4.48 billion. But in 2009, the investment dropped to US$349.15 million due to the global financial crisis.
“Last December, the Chinese Vice President, Mr. Xi Jingping [ 习近平 ], visited Cambodia, and he encouraged more investments to be made in Cambodia. At that time, the Chinese government promised to provide US$1.2 billion in grant aid and loans for Cambodia to restore infrastructures which were devastated by two decades of civil war in the 1970s.” Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 19 March 2010
Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #438, 19.3.2010
- China Signed Three Commercial Agreements with Cambodia
- [Opposition party president] Sam Rainsy Talked about the Loss of Territory to Vietnam Again, but Government Officials Rejected It
- While a Family Was Eating Dinner Together, They Were Attacked by a Grenade, Killing Two Children and Injuring Eleven Other Persons [a suspect, who had a conflict with the family, was arrested – Kompong Cham]
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2205, 19.3.2010
- Sam Rainsy Told the Great King [Norodom Sihanouk] that His Map [that he had used earlier] Is Right
- The Construction Site of the Phnom Penh Sugar Cane Factory Was Burnt Down by [nearly 600] Residents of the Amleang Commune [accusing the company of violating their land – Kompong Speu]
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #630, 19.3.2010
- [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: We Want the European Community to Provide More Aid to Cambodia, but We Also Want the National Assembly to Play an Important Role [to review the implementation of laws by the government – he said so after a meeting with a delegation from the European Union]
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6912, 19.3.2010
- The Authorities Announced that Karaoke Parlors and Nightclubs Have to Shut by Midnight [Sihanoukville]
Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #134, 19.3.2010
- The Prime Minister Condemned the Coup of 18 March 1970 by [field marshal] Lon Nol [saying that if there had been no such a coup, there would have been no destruction of Cambodia – Note: It was on 18 March 1970 that the National Assembly instituted the National Assembly President Cheng Heng as acting chief of state by a vote of 89 to 3, while Prince Sihanouk was in Moscow; on 24 March he called, now in China, for armed resistance against the new government arrangements in Phnom Penh]
- Two Separate Land Conflicts in Kompong Speu Led to Violence Which Resulted in 14 Police Officers and 12 Other Citizens Being Injured [in one case, the authorities tried to evict citizens who lost a complaint against the Meng Keth company, and in another, citizens clashed with the Phnom Penh Sugar company of Oknha Ly Yong Phat]
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5154, 19.3.2010
- [70 km of] National Road 78 from Ban Lung to Ou Ya Dav at the Cambodian-Vietnamese Border Was Inaugurated [Ratanakiri]
- Chevron Contributed Almost US$200,000 to Help Educate Poor Fishery Communities about Health and Micro Finance
- Germany Donated  Computers Worth More Than US$30,000 to the National Assembly of Cambodia
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Tears and Ashes Remain and the Future Is Not Not Clear after the Fire behind Wat Neak Voan – Wednesday, 10.3.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 655
Apologies for the delay – I am still at an ICANN conference – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the global coordination for the Internet name space – in Nairobi/Kenya. I hope to be back in Phnom Penh next Monday. I try to avoid delays – but I am kept busy at the conference and do not always have Internet access when I would like to have it.
“Phnom Penh: One of the hundreds of victims of the terrible fire which destroyed more than 200 houses on 8 March 2010 said, between sobs and with tears, ‘My house was totally burnt down. I am seeking if anything remained which I could sell to get some money to buy food.’
“On 9 March 2010, the victims of the fire continue exploring to see if there is any property left in the ashes from the fire whose cause is still not known. Some surrounded their land by markers, some dug in the ashes, and some went to the water blackened by the fire to see if there is anything from their lost property.
“A victim with six children, Ms. Sum Srey, said in between sob, when she was asked about the fire, pointing to the deadly smoke, ‘That fire burnt very fast. I have nothing left. I am looking for anything remaining that can be sold for money to buy food.’
“According to the local authorities, no lives were lost in the fire next to Wat Neak Voan in the night of 8 March 2010. But 178 big and small houses constructed next to each other in the area, 10 rooms of monks in the Wat, and 21 rooms of students were totally burnt down. This destruction made 257 families, 90 monks, and 181 students lose their shelter.
“This big fire broke out at 18:40 p.m. southwest of Wat Neak Voan in the Boeng Kak II commune, in Tuol Kork district.
“According to investigations by the police, the fire was caused by an electric fault in a house owned by a Mr. Phoeun Pho, a construction worker.
“About 60 firefighter cars rushed to the site to intervene but encountered problem with the narrow roads to reach the site to put out the fire. Some families could take few belongings in time, and some families’ property was all stolen or snatched away by thieves.
“Sister Kong Satha, whose husband is a motor-taxi driver – they have nine children to care for – who rented a house in the area, said with tears that she could only take the television set and a bike. Everything else was burnt. And she did not receive any donation, as the village chief said that her family’s name is not on the list.
“The Tuol Kork district governor, Mr. Seng Ratanak, said that in the first stage, donations were distributed to only 257 families that owned real houses, and the authorities will assist those who rented houses later.
“The district governor said that to reorganize the area, the Phnom Penh Municipality provides two options. First, each family will be offered a 6 by 12 meter plot of land in Ponhea Leu District, Kandal if they agree to leave, and second, if they still want to settle on the same area, the authorities will organize it technically by constructing wider roads.
“The victims of the fire, besides losing their property and their houses, now have also to struggle for their daily lives after this dreadful event. Some fear that they will no longer be allowed to reconstruct their houses on their previous sites, and they will be forced to settle in other areas which are remote, and where it is difficult to earn a living. They just hope that they will not be victimized twice, once by the fire, and then by a forced eviction to live in a remote area where it will be difficult to live.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5146, 10.3.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #430, 10.3.2010
- The UN Encourages Cambodia to Strengthen Information and Communication Technology [to boost economic development]
- 74,000 Hectares of Land [in 22 provinces] Are Prepared to Be Allocated for Decommissioned Soldiers [according to the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction]
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2197, 10.3.2010
- The Prosecutor Rejected the Request of Mr. Sam Rainsy to Postpone His Appearing at the Municipal Court [over the accusation to have faked maps, and a defamation case initiated by the government – Phnom Penh]
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #622, 10.3.2010
- [The President of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association] Rong Chhun Called Not to Threaten Teacher Association Officials at Provinces and Cities in the Whole Country [when they make negative comments to journalists about the education system]
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6904, 10.3.2010
- Today the National Assembly Will Discuss the Anti-Corruption Draft Law Which Has Been Long Awaited by the Public
- 178 Houses, 10 Rooms of Monks, and 21 Rooms of Students [who lived in the pagoda] Became Ashes after a Fire Broke out [in the “Railway Block,” Phnom Penh]
- The Production of Fake Medicines Was Intercepted by a Raid of the Economic Police, and Twenty Six Types of Drugs, Weighing 19.28 Tonnes All Together, Were Seized [a Chinese man was arrested – Phnom Penh]
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3828, 10.3.2010
- The Siamese [Thai] Government Declared a State of Emergency from 11 to 23 March 2010, under the Internal Security Law [as big demonstrations by red shirt demonstrators were planned in Bangkok and in seven provinces]
Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #127, 10.3.2010
- Besides a Lack of Food and Shelter, the Victims of the Fire in Boeng Kak II [257 families in the “Railway Block”] Are Worried about Being Evicted [Phnom Penh]
- [The ASEAN Secretary-General] Surin Pitsuwan: The Media Quoted His Words Incorrectly [by publishing that he was strongly concerned about a recent military exercise in Cambodia; actually, he said that he is concerned about the continuing border tension between Cambodia and Thailand]
Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5146, 10.3.2010
- Tears and Ashes Remain and the Future Is Not Not Clear after the Fire behind Wat Neak Voan
- The National Assembly Rejected the Request [of the Sam Rainsy Party and civil society] to Delay Discussing the Anti-Corruption Draft Law
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654
Apologies for the delay – there was no Internet connection available the day before. – Norbert Klein
After France had established its colonial presence in a region which was then known as “Indochina” – Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – the governments of France and of Siam – since 1932 called Thailand – started to exchange opinions about how to clearly defining a borderline between the territories under French and under Thai control, where no borderline had been defined before. For a certain region, without much population and remote from all political centers, they agreed that the border should follow the watershed. But as the French military had more modern equipment for land measuring and mapping, it was agreed that the French would do the surveying and then report to the government of Siam. The French side produced their draft maps and reports in 1904 and 1907, but in one region – in the area of the Preah Vihear temple ruins – their borderline did not follow the watershed line, which ultimately lead to the present conflicts. Looking back at the technical and logistical facilities of that time, it is not so surprising that different interpretations emerged which could not easily be clarified on the spot.
But nowadays, it is surprising that there are doubts where a certain spot on the ground is, represented on a map. There may be, of course, disagreement to which country that spot belongs, but not where it is in terms of its geographical coordinates.
It is really surprising to observe that a conflict exist nowadays at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam, and that it leads to continuing escalation. This comment is not debating the legality or illegality of removing a border post. Only the conflictive interpretations of the location of this border post are raised here.
Many high end mobile telephones sold in Cambodia have a GPS facility – a Global Positioning System – which, in a couple of seconds, can display the geographical coordinates – the longitude and latitude data – where the user of this phone stands. But recent reports made conflicting claims related to the removed border post: whether it was on the borderline between Cambodia and Vietnam, or whether it was inside of Cambodian territory, and which maps are correct or not.
The Mirror had carried reports about these conflicting claims:
- [Sam Rainsy Party] Parliamentarians Asked the Government to Explain the Position for the Setting of Four Temporary Border Markers [at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border – Mr. Sam Rainsy had published data, based on satellite based GPS verification, showing that the border markers are set inside of Cambodian territory — but the geographical coordinates were not in the press]
- A Government Official Announced to Sue Mr. Sam Rainsy; [the head of the Cambodian Border Committee] Mr. Var Kimhong: Maps Accusing the Government [over the setting of border markers with Vietnam, used by Mr. Sam Rainsy] Are Fake
- Samdech Dekchor Hun Sun Called Mr. Sam Rainsy a Traitor [for creating trouble at the Eastern border with Vietnam, while Cambodia is having border issues at the Western border with Thailand]
- Sam Rainsy Responded to Hun Sen, Saying the Cambodian Leader Himself Fakes Maps and Does Not Even Know Where the Country’s Border Is
- Observers said that both Mr. Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen had shown an intention to review maps
- [The opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: My Map and the Government’s Map Must Be Compared to See Which One Is Recognized Internationally
Yes: both maps have to be compared, and the geographical coordinates of the original location of the removed border posts has to be taken by any GPS capable mobile phone and entered into the different maps.
Though we tried to observe the Khmer press carefully, we have not seen any newspaper which published both maps side by side, with the location of the border posts entered. If there had been such a publication, we missed it and would appreciate to be notified.
To collect the different data should be easy, and it would immediately clarify the situation and the conflicting positions objectively. It is extremely surprising that such comparison of data has not been made public, but instead accusations and counter accusations were made, even involving the courts.
One can only hope that both maps and the geographical coordinates, which any owner of a GPS capable phone can take by visiting the site, will be published and the the courts – and the public – can quickly see the related data.
Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.
There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlors – Monday, 1.3.2010
The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 654
“Phnom Penh: At present, there are nearly 500 entertainment places in Phnom Penh, such as beer gardens, karaoke parlors, night clubs, discotheques, restaurants or other places where alcohol and some meals are served, accompanied with music, and female beer seller [often called “Beer Girls”].
“According to reports from the Phnom Penh Municipality, distributed during a recent convention to sum up the work in 2009 and to set the direction for 2010, big entertainment places include 76 beer gardens, 83 karaoke parlors, 10 night clubs, and 9 discotheques. Based on unofficial estimations by expert officials, there are around 300 other places such as clubs, restaurants, small restaurants, or places where soup is served like in beer gardens, where there are women to entertain the male guests.
“The above report went on to say that in Phnom Penh there are 142 hotels, 353 guesthouses, 8 [mainly poor people’s building blocks, 54 massage shops, and 233 tourism agencies. 303 places were provided with tourism licenses, 91 new sites were opened, the validity of 266 sites was suspended, and 17 sites were closed because of armed clashes, sex trafficking, rape, and other disturbing offenses.
“It is worth to point out that in recent years, big and small entertainment places that run at night are growing like mushrooms. Some are operated in restaurants where the Phnom Penh police cannot easily control them. Sometimes it is only after problems have occurred that police could know about it. Entertainment places do not need any advertisements at present [to attract customers].” Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6896, 1.3.2010
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 01 March 2010
Deum Ampil, Vol. 4, #422, 28-1.2-3.2010
- Mr. Tivear 06 [the nickname of a policeman] Is Detained in the PJ Prison Suspected of Intention to Murder [by poisoning his police colleagues, killing one person and affecting four others]
- An Elderly Woman Died from Diarrhea [twenty more people were refereed to hospital – Kompong Chhnang – some claim, others deny that it is Cholera]
Kampuchea Thmey, Vol. 9, #2189, 28-1.2-3.2010
- Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Warned He Might Close the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Television Station [TV5, as it does not broadcast much about the activities of the Cambodian Armed Forces]
- A Two Year Old Girl Cried on a Boat for nearly 20 Hours after Her Father Had Died while Trying to Fish Using Electric Shocks [she was found at around 12 at midnight – Pursat]
Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6896, 1.3.2010
- There Are Nearly 500 Entertainment Places at Night, Most of Them Are Karaoke Parlors [there are 76 beer gardens, 83 karaoke parlors, 10 night clubs, and 9 discotheques in Phnom Penh]
Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol. 17, #3820, 1.3.2010
- [The opposition party president] Sam Rainsy: My Map and the Government’s Map Must Be Compared to See Which One Is Recognized Internationally [Editorial Note: No identification or access on the Internet are provided – this information – surprisingly – is not given for the maps of both sides – so how can they be compared?]
Khmer Machas Srok, Vol. 4, #2614, 28-1.2-3.2010
- [A Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian,] Ms. Mu Sochua Is Appointed as the Head of the Sam Rainsy Party Battambang Branch [to replace Mr. Eng Chhay Eang]
Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol. 1, #120, 1.3.2010
- The Prime Minister Said that Cambodia Is Not Preparing to Start a War [but is prepared to stand firm agains invaders
- The Government Plans to Destroy 170 [artificial] Reservoirs [in Battambang, Kompong Thom, and Siem Reap, as they were constructed in areas of flooded mangrove forest, fishery lots, or fishing community zones, in order to preserve natural resources and to ensure citizens’ health]
- Thailand Strengthens Security, while Thaksin Shinawatra Will Appeal against the Judgment [that seized about 60% his assets, about US$1.4 billion, leaving him still with the rest of about 40%]
Ramsmei Kampuchea, Vol. 18, #5138, 28-1.2-3.2010
- The Chinese Ambassador: The Cambodian-Chinese Relations Grew Like a Big Flourishing Tree [because of the the cooperation between institutions and ministries of both countries]
- The Government Will Spend More Than Riel 1 Billion [approx. US$240,000] for the Promotion of Sanitation in Rural Areas [in 2010 by educating people to use toilets]
- A Police Officer [the Deputy General Director of the National Police, General Yun Chhuny]: Do Not Use Speed Monitoring Devices to Extort Money from Citizens [such devices must be used properly according to the law by traffic police]
And please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.
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