Cambodia’s ruling party on Thursday approved a regional convention that would set up a joint development area between Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, but which opposition critics argue would cede land to Vietnam.
The law passed with 83 votes from the Cambodian People’s Party, zero from the Sam Rainsy Party and a boycott from the Human Rights Party.
The law would set up a special economic zone and would require the placement of a border marker stone at the intersection of all three countries.
Supporters of the law said it will help create a development area for four provinces in Cambodia’s northeast, as well as neighboring provinces of Laos and Vietnam.
Var Kimhong, chairman of Cambodia’s Border Committee, told the National Assembly the plan would include setting a granite marker at the intersection of the three countries’ borders, which would be protected from any effort of removal or damage.
However, SRP lawmaker Ke Sovannroth told the Assembly that the border in that area remains unclear and that Cambodia could be losing land by agreeing to the convention.
“We should not pass it,” she said. “If we pass it, it means that we recognize it. So we are also responsible for the history.”
Laos ratified the convention in July 2009, but it has yet to be approved by Vietnam.