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Assembly President Won’t Postpone Border Demarcation

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, front right, applauses together with the National Assembly President Heng Samrin, front left, during an event by the ruling Cambodian People's Party, file photo.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin has refused a request from opposition lawmakers to suspend border demarcation through the 2018 national elections.

In a statement issued to reporters Wednesday, Heng Samrin said the Assembly has already approved the formation of a border committee, and its work will proceed.

The request, from 12 lawmakers of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, follows a recent clash on the border between pro-opposition activists and Vietnamese security personnel and amid ongoing accusations by villagers of Vietnamese encroachment.

The Rescue Party lawmakers had asked for an explanation of territory exchanges with Vietnam, in addition to their request for a halt to demarcation proceedings.

Rescue Party lawmaker Um Sam An told VOA Khmer Heng Samrin’s refusal to accept the letter runs counter to the constitution. Um Sam An said he plans to file a complaint with the Constitutional Council.

Heng Samrin’s stance on Vietnam is “weak,” he said, likely due to a continued relationship with the country that installed many of the government’s current leaders. “It’s normal that the inferior is afraid of the superior,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has not filled in ponds at contentious border areas, and construction on a road near the border in Svay Rieng province—near the site of June’s clash—has not ceased, he said.

Border demarcation remains a politically contested issue, with members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on a border committee that met with Vietnamese counterparts earlier this month. Little was accomplished at the meeting, though both sides said border demarcation talks would continue.