Thai govt assures no loss of Koh Kood sovereignty in future talks

A reassurance has been issued by the Thai government, stating that the country will not surrender sovereignty over Koh Kood, located in Trat province, to Cambodia during future negotiations concerning the partitioning of marine resources in their shared Overlapping Claims Area (OCA).

In a statement during the Senate’s general debate on Monday night, Deputy Prime Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara referred to the 1907 treaty signed between France and Siam, the historical name for Thailand. The treaty specifically noted that France returned Trat and islands spanning from Ling Cape to Koh Kood to Siam.

Responding to worries about potential diplomatic and legal fallout from Thailand’s alleged intentions to discuss marine resource sharing with Cambodia without addressing the continental shelf dispute, Parnpree proclaimed that future discussions should simultaneously address both issues. The continental shelf refers to the submerged edge of a continent that extends into the ocean.

However, Parnpree conceded that he currently lacks the authority to make a final decision on the matter, as a committee responsible for such negotiations is yet to be established. The formation of this committee will require Cabinet approval.

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Historically, Thailand and Cambodia have engaged in four official talks and eight informal negotiations following a 2001 memorandum of understanding, which expressed both countries’ intention to reconcile issues regarding the OCA, according to Parnpree. Despite these efforts, no progress has been made on the matter.

During an official visit to Thailand on February 7, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet also discussed the OCA issue among other topics. Both Thai and Cambodian leaders have agreed to continue discussions on resource sharing within the OCA, added Parnpree.

In related news last month, negotiations were said to be underway between Thailand and Cambodia concerning overlapping border regions in the Gulf of Thailand, according to Sutin Klungsang, Thailand’s Defence Minister. He addressed public concerns and queries from the press about the possible implications of a meeting held in Bangkok on February 21 between Hun Sen, former Prime Minister of Cambodia, and Thaksin Shinawatra, ex-Thai Prime Minister.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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