Thai senator pushes government to solve Cambodia border dispute

Photo courtesy of The MATTER

Senator Khamnoon Sitthisaman has thrown a spotlight on an unresolved maritime dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, urging the government to address the issue before diving into talks on joint development of a 26,000-square-kilometre energy-rich area in the Gulf of Thailand.

The senator’s call for prompt action comes as Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin gears up for crucial discussions with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, scheduled for February 7 in Bangkok.

Senator Khamnoon took to his Facebook account to express concerns that negotiations might unfold under the shadow of the 2001 memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Cambodia, a framework established during the Thaksin Shinawatra administration for joint development in the contested region and maritime border demarcation. Despite the Abhisit government’s decision to revoke the agreement, it remains uncancelled, and the MoU, according to international law experts, appears to disadvantage Thailand.

Insisting on prioritising the nation’s interest, Senator Khamnoon emphasised that the maritime border issue should not be sidelined and must be resolved before progressing to discussions on energy development. He warned against blindly following the MoU, which stipulates that maritime border demarcation and joint development should be treated as an indivisible package. This implies that a Thailand-Cambodian Joint Technical Committee must be established to navigate the intricacies of both issues simultaneously.

The Thais and Cambodians have engaged in multiple rounds of talks since the MoU’s inception but progress has been hindered primarily by the unresolved dispute over maritime border demarcation. With the looming talks between the prime ministers, the urgency to settle this matter has reached new heights, reported Bangkok Post.

Senator Khamnoon revealed that the government will be pressured to address this pressing issue before the Senate, emphasising the need for a thorough examination and resolution. As both nations eye the abundant energy resources in the contested area, the senator’s call serves as a timely reminder that a harmonious solution to the maritime border dispute is paramount for fostering positive diplomatic relations and ensuring the nation’s best interests are protected.

Politics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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