PHNOM PENH —
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prak Sokhon has welcomed assurances from his Thai counterpart, Don Pramudwinai, who reportedly said that Cambodians who cross the Thai border illegally will not be shot by security forces.
In a statement released on Tuesday at the conclusion of a two-day visit to Bangkok where the two ministers discussed a wide range of issues, Sokhon said during talks over cross-border crimes such as illegal logging and human trafficking. The Thai foreign minister had assured him that firearms would only be used in self-defense.
Khung Phoak, president of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies, said the agreement between the two sides would mark the end of shooting along the border, which has claimed dozens of Cambodian lives in recent years.
Illegal loggers routinely cross the border into Thailand – particularly in the north of the country near the Dangrek Mountains – to search for luxury hardwood species such as Siamese rosewood, which is highly sought after in Vietnam and China, bringing large sums of money into otherwise impoverished rural areas.
The two ministers also discussed fraud prevention, modern slavery and the mass migration of Cambodian workers to Thailand.