5th JBC Meeting

The fifth JBC meeting held in Bangkok on February 13-14, 2012 made a good progress but not touched on the area near the Preah Vihear temple since it is in the hand of the ICJ now.  According to Bangkok Post on February 13, it said that the agenda of the meeting will focus on the selection of companies from Japan, France or Finland to carry out orthophoto mapping of the border and representatives of both countries will also hold discussions on the map’s specifications.  There are 73 pillars of border demarcation. So 48 pillars have been surveyed and 33 pillars have been accepted.  According to Foreign Ministry of Thailand, Thani Thongpakdi said the meeting would discuss the progress of the surveying and demarcation of the Thai-Cambodian boundary, the opening of a new permanent checkpoint at Stung Bot between Sa Kaeo and Bantey Meancheay, as proposed by Cambodia, and the selection of companies to take aerial photographs for mapping of the border (Bangkok Post, January 13, 2012, http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/279605/thai-cambodian-jbc-meeting-begins).

Both sides took one step further in the technical demarcation process, Var Kimhong, senior minister in charge of border affairs, said “It is a positive step towards solving the border issues between the two countries…From now on, there will be no more obstacles for border talks as the Thai side dropped the idea that the agreed minutes should receive approval from the Thai Parliament.” (Xin Hua News, 14 February 2012, http://english.cri.cn/6966/2012/02/15/2982s681069.htm). Moreover, Thai delegation head Bandhit Sotipalalit clarified that “Bangkok and Phnom Penh have initially decided that we will not touch on troubled points such as the Preah Vihear temple as the issue is still in the [trial] process of the International Court of Justice…But we will wait for the verdict and comply with it.” (Bangkok Post, 15 February 2012, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/279854/preah-vihear-demarcation-delay-agreed).

It seems that the process of bilateral negotiation between the two countries is progressive since the level of politicization is decreasing and technical cooperation is increasing. The most important achievement from the fifth JBC meeting was the decision to disengage Thai Parliament from approving the adopted draft minutes.

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