Overlaping maritime claims: Can Cambodia and Thailand reach agreement?

Thai’s foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul visited Cambodia on December 30 to review the development of current bilateral relations especially after Mrs. Ying Luck became the new leader of Bangkok. The key question has been asked is whether the visit can lead to the resumption of the Joint Border Committee meeting on border demarcation on both land and maritime boundaries.

In June 2001, Cambodia and Thailand signed MOU on solving overlapping maritime claims in the Gulf of Thailand but that MOU was annulled by the Abhisit’s administration in 2009. Now it’s time for both countries to consider the issue and come to honor the 2001 MOU.

I hope this can be done based on mutual trust and interests between Phnom Penh and Bangkok. As Cambodia is planning to explore oil and gas in 2013, such MOU is necessary otherwise it can create a new frontier of conflict between the two countries.

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