Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cable said Hun Sen had no claims to any Thai land

Jul 13, 2011
Source: Bangkok Post

A WikiLeaks cable has quoted Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen as saying his country has no overlapping land areas with Thailand.

In the 95PHNOMPENH152 cable, issued by the US embassy in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen is quoted as saying the only overlapping territory between the two countries is "in the sea", and that it should be divvied up in a grid pattern.

The cable described a meeting between Hun Sen and a group of US corporate leaders led by US-Asean Business Council president Matt Daley on May 1-3, 2008.

Hun Sen's comment was in response to Mr Daley's message that then-Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama did not oppose the inscription of Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, but wanted Thailand and Cambodia to adopt a joint management plan for an "overlapping claims area".

Hun Sen was also quoted as saying that he wanted the overlapping claims area in the Gulf of Thailand to be considered separately from the Preah Vihear question - "an approach that Thailand accepted years ago", he said.

The Cambodian premier was also quoted as saying Thailand wanted to divide the maritime overlapping claim area into strips running north to south with both countries sharing percentages of petroleum revenues in each strip.

In the cable, Hun Sen suggested instead the area be divided into a checkerboard pattern with each country having sole control of its assigned blocks.

In its comment, the embassy noted that despite the Thai and Cambodian statements, the inscription of the Preah Vihear temple was linked to resolving the maritime claims dispute, "at least in the minds of senior Thai and Cambodian government leaders".

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai has vowed to help Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkwamkid and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon secure their release from jail in Phnom Penh, where they are being held on spying charges.

Torpong Chaiyasarn, a Pheu Thai party-list MP-elect who is among those regarded as being on the shortlist for deputy foreign minister, said once Pheu Thai becomes the ruling party, the government would try to assist Veera and Ratree as well as other Thais facing similar charges in Cambodia.

Veera and Ratree were jailed for illegally entering Cambodia, trespassing into a restricted military area without permission and espionage.

"This case will not be among the government's urgent policies, but it will be one of the tasks that the government must address" Mr Torpong said.

"We must make sure the public understands our and Cambodia's approaches. More importantly, we must respect the ruling of the Cambodian court as well."

He said apart from Veera and Ratree, there were other Thais convicted of similar charges, although the public has never been informed of their cases.

Pheu Thai's plan to deal with the Thai-Cambodian border row includes enforcing the decree that Cambodians living in the disputed area must move out in accordance with the existing memorandum of understanding.

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