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Opposition Says Vietnam Building Roads Into Cambodia

Cambodian protesters burn mock Vietnamese flags during a protest at a blocked main street in front of Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.

An opposition lawmaker says the Cambodian government is allowing the construction of roads near the Vietnam border that is encouraging encroachment there.

Mao Monivann, a parliamentarian for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, told VOA Khmer that in Mondolkiri province, in northeast Cambodia, Vietnam had built 50 kilometers of road pushing into Cambodia.

That is likely where the Vietnamese government will claim its border to be, although it is inside Cambodia, he said.

“When I went to observe on Sept. 24, the Vietnamese government had built the road up to the bridge of Dak Dang lake,” he said. “That’s the place the Vietnamese government plans to mark as its border, but the Cambodian government said they had not agreed at all on this point.”

Vietnam “has what they wished,” he said. “We can say it’s an invasion of our national sovereignty.”

He has requested the Cambodian government look into the matter and give an explanation, he said. He has also asked that Prime Minister Hun Sen respond within seven days to his request, under parliamentary rules.

Var Kim Hong, head of Cambodia’s National Border Committee, denied claims that Vietnam had built a road into Cambodia. There may be a road built on disputed territory, he said, but “both sides will continue to negotiate” for border demarcation.

Cambodia continues to protest such construction, not only from Vietnam, but from Laos and Thailand, as well, through diplomatic channels, he said.

Meanwhile, technical and legal issues make it difficult to redraw boundaries, he said, adding that he is willing to testify before the National Assembly, “if we have permission from the prime minister.”