Cambodians and Vietnamese Clash Over Borderland

Email story
Comment on this story
Print story
The map shows Memot district, Tbong Khmum province, in southeast Cambodia, where the clash occurred.
The map shows Memot district, Tbong Khmum province, in southeast Cambodia, where the clash occurred.

A clash between Cambodians and Vietnamese soldiers over a swath of disputed land in a border district separating the two countries in southern Cambodia has become the latest tussle in a string of such territorial conflicts.

The squabble broke out on Sunday when a group of about 500 Cambodians, including representatives from the Cham Muslim ethnic minority group and opposition politicians, claimed on Sunday that 16 hectares (40 acres) of land in Choeung village of Chorn commune in Memot district, Tbong Khmum province, was Cambodian territory.

Vietnamese soldiers blocked Memot district villagers along with four members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) from accessing the area on which the Cambodians said their crops had been poisoned by the Vietnamese last month by a chemical spray. No one appeared to be injured, and the Cambodians eventually turned back.

Isa Ossmann, a Cham representative who led the group to examine the disputed area, called on the Cambodians to refrain from using violence and urged protesters to withdraw.  

“I do not want to see this territory [Cambodia] get lost like Champa, but we have to refrain from violence,” he said, referring to the collection of independent Cham polities that Vietnam had annexed.  

“We cannot solve the issue via violence; however, we will continue to struggle until our last breath [to protect our homeland],” he said.

A Vietnamese border soldier asked the Cambodian and Cham protesters to withdraw.

“We are Vietnamese soldiers,” he said. “I am defending our country, Vietnam. Now you should go back, because you are now entering Vietnamese territory. You go back and talk to your government about the border demarcation.”  

Cambodian border police did not comment on the disputed land.

Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister, declared in late April that the disputed area belonged to Vietnam, and that the Vietnamese sprayed poison chemicals on the crops grown by Cambodians because it is their land.

His comments were strongly criticized by the Cambodian people, nongovernmental organizations and the CNRP.

CNRP lawmaker Mu Sochua, who was with the villagers when the clash occurred, said the Cambodians were angry about losing their farmland.

“Actually, [the disputed area] is clearly on Khmer land,” she was quoted as saying by The Phnom Penh Post.

Cambodia-Vietnam border conflicts have occurred in other provinces including Rattanakiri, Svay Rieng, Kampot and Kampong Cham.

The CNRP has repeatedly called on the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen to re-examine and resolve the border issues with Vietnam, although its efforts have been in vain.

Party leader Sam Rainsy, who is currently in the United States, said last week that he would use the “culture of dialogue” with Hun Sen to discuss the border problem and other issues, according to The Phnom Penh Post.

Reported by Morm Moniroth of RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Yanny Hin. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Comments (5)


All you Campodians should go back and protest your own PM because he betrayed Vietnam after we liberated your people from Pol Pot. A small piece of land is not worth the lives of thousands of Vietnamese soldiers who sacrified to save your people. Instead of letting China taking over your country and turn your people into slaves, why not join Vietnam and Laos to form a stronger, bigger Indochina nation? Then we can become a US ally and kick those greedy Chinese dogs to the curve.

Aug 30, 2016 12:04 AM

Kone Khmer

All Kone Khmer have to stand up together to protect our land. The land is from our ancester. We don't want Vietnamese take over like in Lao country. If we're weak, Vietnam will step on our heads. So be strong and kick them out from our country. Vietnam is not Cambodian true friends.

Jun 03, 2015 02:14 PM

Cathy Sing

from USA

.Visual: Sure! This "neutral" RFA decided to show a map where the clash is, within the pink-shaded color of a Cambodian province intruding into Vietnam.
. Interviews: no Vietnamese official authorities but several Cambodians, including a Cham repesentative (?). Who does he represent and what does he know about the dispute?
. This template is Chinese authored, Cambodian-acted and had been used before in 1975: crossing the legal borders into Vietnam to provoke - based on gossips, unprovable histories and violations of previous agreement. If the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments both agreed that this area belongs to Vietnam, after 38 years of negotiation, who are these people to contest? And speaking of CNRP that Sam Ramsy created and China financed: history often repeats itself and this is the same China that conspired with the Khmer-Rouge for massacre of your 1/2 Cambodians. When it happens again, stop counting on the Vietnamese - they won't be fooled the 2nd time!

Jun 03, 2015 02:02 PM


Indeed, open map visuals clearly show that Combodia province is in fact intruding into Vietnam territory. This sudden protest from Cambodia after 38 years settlers is pretty one sided, high chance it could be triggered by some certain individuals to start some sort of propaganda again, it is effective because any people would believe any little piece of land belongs to them. This look like it is just a small border dispute but if China is involved and Khmer Rouge rises again, it could become a regional problem.

Jun 03, 2015 11:05 PM

Anonymous Reader

Once again the monster of Vietnam evil face appears on the land of Cambodia. They were born from their ancestors China. They have the same teeth , legs, mouth to swallow human species . The USA is the most ugly man to feed Vietnam monster to become stronger evil.
Keep waking up people! to keep our ancestor land .

Jun 03, 2015 08:01 AM



CAMBODIANS friends,,please do not let COMMUNIST VIETNAM STOLEN LANDS like they are doing in LAOS. stand up TO Protect your Cambodia land.

Jun 02, 2015 09:08 PM

View all comments.





More Listening Options

View Full Site