Tag Archives: border

Cambodian PM Issues Warning to Laos over Border Violation; Troops at the Ready

Cambodia-issues-warning-to-Laos

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has accused Laos of military encroachment onto Cambodian soil. He said soldiers from Laos have entered Cambodia and must leave by August 17, or suffer the consequences.

 Mr Hun Sen has now mobilized troops to the border area.

 As many as thirty Lao troops crossed from Laos into Cambodia near Stung Treng Province in April, according to news reports, and have remained in the area for long periods of time.

 “I am unable to keep patience,” said PM Hun Sen. “It’s not right that we fight each other but if they don’t withdraw, then we must. We are not declaring war, we just ask to get our own land back.”

 “I appeal to Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith to withdraw troops from Cambodian territory,” the Cambodian Prime Minister added.

Experts say that such squabbles are common along the 540km land border between Laos and Cambodia, and many areas have not been officially demarcated.

State media in Laos has remained silent in regard to the issue.

Laos and Cambodia to Build Friendship Bridge Across Xelamphao River

Laos and Cambodia Bridge

Laos and Cambodia are to build a bridge crossing the Xelamphao River, connecting Champasack, Laos with Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith met with his Cambodian counterpart, Prak Sokhonn, yesterday, confirming the location of the bridge.

According to the Khmer Times, both countries had initially agreed upon a location, however Laos then requested a review in order to find a more suitable location.

The new location for the bridge was decided upon late last month after a Lao and Cambodian joint working team undertook a field survey.

The bridge, which crosses the Xelamphao River (named the Ropov River in Cambodia) will link Mounlapamok District, Champasack, with Thapeuay sub-district, Preah Vihear Province, Cambodia. The river currently serves as a border demarcation.

According to a spokesperson of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the bridge is to improve connections between the country, boosting trade and tourism for both nations.

Both countries are to cooperate in building the bridge, however the cost of construction is yet to be confirmed.

Mr. Sokhonn and Mr. Kommasith also discussed cross-border drug trafficking. Mr. Sounry said Mr. Sokhonn urged cooperation between both countries against drugs and that Mr. Kommasith agreed fully.

A new border crossing was opened between Laos and Cambodia last month, leading to the two countries agreeing to further promote trade and tourism.

Laos, Cambodia to open New Border Crossing

laos-cambodia-border-crossing

A new international border crossing between Laos and Cambodia is set to open next week.

The border crossing will connect Champasack Province in Laos with and Stung Treng Province, Cambodia.

The crossing, officially named the Nong Nokkhiane – Trapeang Kriel Border Checkpoint, is being established to help facilitate trade and tourism between the two nations.

A statement from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads, “both leaders, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith, will preside over the inauguration ceremony of the international border checkpoint between Cambodia and Lao PDR to take place on 10 January.”

The statement went on to say that at the conclusion of the ceremony, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his accompanying officials will be invited to visit the Don Sahong hydropower installation in Champasack Province.

Total investment in Laos by Cambodia is said to be valued at approximately US $84 million.

Lancang-Mekong River Plan May “Shift” Thailand-Laos Border

THAILAND may lose territory under the plan approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday to improve navigation in the Mekong River between Thailand and the Laos border at Chiang Rai, which will include the dredging of rapids, local people warned yesterday.

The Cabinet agreed in principle with the international Lancang-Mekong River navigation improvement plan from 2015-25, which intends to make the Mekong passable for 500-tonne cargo ships plying the route from China to Luang Prabang in Laos. However, the Cabinet decision was met with heavy protest.

Locals claimed that the adjustment to the river’s course would definitely shift the boundary of Thailand and Laos.

The removal of the rapids will destroy the breeding grounds and habitat of wildlife, which will lead to total devastation of the Mekong River ecosystem.

A joint statement was also released by 20 organisations protesting the Cabinet decision and emphasising that the Cabinet was making a major mistake in allowing the project, which has high risk and serious impact on the people and river ecosystem, to be implemented.

Jirasak Intayot, coordinator of the Rak Chiang Khong Group, raised concerns over the plan, saying that if the government insists on proceeding with the river channel adjustment work, they will have to consider the law seriously or they will end up in ceding the country’s territory and violating the law.

“The river channel improvement will definitely affect the border between Thailand and Laos, because the demolition of rapids would change the river flow and erode the riverbank, changing the border of Thailand and Laos,” he said. The Mekong River forms a part of the Thai-Lao border and changing the river’s course will also change the border, he argued.

The Mekong project was not new. It has been championed for a long time and was not successful until now because the Cabinet was worried about the possibility of territory losses. The project was postponed in 2003.

The joint statement stressed that if this project goes ahead, not only will the motherland be violated and vast swathes of land be lost, the Thai constitution mentions that any project that affects the country’s border must get the approval of Parliament first.

However, this Cabinet resolution has not been deliberated on by Parliament yet, so it may be in conflict with the Constitution.

The project will be implemented on the mainstream of the Mekong, but the agreement was among only four countries, excluding Cambodia and Vietnam, who were also members of the Mekong River Commission (MRC).

That was a violation of the MRC agreement and international regulations on international river management.

“The people’s networks demand that the Thai government end this project immediately to protect our country’s territory and preserve the precious Mekong River ecosystem,” the statement concluded.

Niwat Roikaew, chairman of the Rak Chiang Khong Group, warned that the demolition of rapids in the Mekong would destroy the habitat and spawning grounds for various kinds of native creatures, including the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish. “Not only will this project destroy the rich biodiversity and pristine ecosystem of the river, the ecosystem degradation will also severely hurt many people who depend on the river for food, and destroy their traditional livelihood too,” he said.

The group will send the petition to the government to end this project soon.

According to the Cabinet decision, the plan was part of the Agreement on Commercial Navigation on the Lancang-Mekong River signed by four riparian countries – China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand – to improve the navigation route on the Mekong and make commercial river transportation convenient, safe and in accordance with the agreement among the country members.

The Cabinet also approved the project to improve the river channel.

The Marine Department will oversee the study, working with other agencies to prevent an impact on the international boundary.

Source: The Nation

Rise in Vehicle Numbers at Boten Border

The number of vehicles crossing the Boten international checkpoint between Laos and China in LuangNamtha province has been reported to have increased as of this week.

Usually about 400 cars and heavy trucks from Laos, China and other countries are crossing the Laos-China border daily.

Head of the management committee for the Boten international checkpoint, Mr Phonsay Chanthasone told Vientiane Times on Monday that about 500 vehicles were recorded as crossing the Boten border last week.

So far this week, Boten international checkpoint seems to be seeing about 1,000 vehicles crossing the border daily between the two countries, he reported.

Generally the border crossing sees 400 vehicles in a day but the recent increase has been attributed to the arrival of the first construction vehicles from China.

Many construction vehicles have been headed to LuangPrabang province from the Laos-China border in LuangNamtha province after the Laos-China railway was officially opened for construction on Sunday.

Mr Phonsay added that it is possible that the number of vehicles crossing the Boten border could rise to up to 1,200 vehicles per day during the period when the construction vehicles for the railway project are transported into Laos.

A railway bridge over the Mekong in LuangPrabang province will be part of the planned 417-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane through the four provinces of LuangNamtha, Oudomxay, LuangPrabang, and Vientiane.

Officials at Boten international checkpoint in LuangNamtha province are working hard to introduce measures to minimise traffic chaos at the crossing between the two countries as the Laos-China railway project commences.

Mr Phonsay Chanthasone told the press earlier this month that the Boten border checkpoint was being closed at 8:00pm but that when the 500 or 1,000 Chinese vehicles came to cross into Laos, the border officials planned to remain open until 10:00pm in a bid to reduce traffic congestion.

The construction of the Laos-China railway is good because it will reduce the number of vehicles being used for cross border goods transportation.

Right now, the roads in the country are quite small and their quality is not very high.

The total value of goods imported and exported via the Boten international border was estimated at US$86 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Officials reported that there are 250,000 people including tourists and traders crossing the border in a year.

Source: Vientiane Times

Trucks Being Charged more at Napao-Chalo Border

Some goods trucks are avoiding using the Napao-Chalo international border between Laos and Vietnam in Khammuan province as the trucks are being levied higher charges at this border.

Previously, the trucks crossing the border only paid a relatively modest fee but now they are charged anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 kip depending on the size of the trucks.

An official from Khammuan province, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that the trucks have been charged for about two years and this money will be used to maintain the border and the roads.

The Lao trucks crossing the border will not be charged on the Laos side but are charged when they cross into Vietnam, while the Vietnamese trucks will be charged on the Lao border side.

Another official in Khammuan also mentioned t hat right now some trucks from Khammuan are not using the Napao-Chalo international border to link with Vietnam .

He explained that some of them are using the Dansavan-Lao Bao international border in Savannakhet province or the Nampao-Cau Treo international border in Borikhamxay province instead.

However, an anonymous Savannakhet provincial customs officer said that the Dansavan-Lao Bao international border has had an operational one door, one stop service since early 2015.

The Dansavan-Lao Bao border is not charging trucks like the Laos-Vietnam border in Khammuan province, but many trucks still use the Napao-Chalo international border because this way is closer to Vietnam as well as in China, he said.

On the other hand Savannakhet wants more trucks from Khammuan or trucks from Thailand to use its border.

According to the Savannakhet provincial Public Works and Transport Department, the service is intended to reduce transport times for trucks and people moving goods across the border.

The single window service means that vehicles entering Laos from Vietnam are not checked at the Vietnamese border but only at the Lao border. Meanwhile vehicles from Laos entering Vietnam have to present their documen ts on the Vietnamese side only.

Based on a Vietnam News report yesterday, Vietnam and other regional countries such as Laos, Cambodia and Thailand have made agreements to facilitate road transport but border linkages have not been fully implemented due to differences in legislation.

It now takes only 15 minutes for trucks to complete customs declarations at the Lao Bao-Dansavan border crossing between Vietnam and Laos.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Boten Border Officials Prepare for Traffic Issues

Luang Namtha province: — Officials at Boten international checkpoint in Luang Namtha province are working hard to introduce measures to minimise traffic chaos at the crossing between the two countries as the Laos-China railway project commences.

Head of the management committee for the Boten international checkpoint, Mr Phonsay Chanthasone, told the press on Thursday that about 400 cars and heavy trucks from Laos, China and other countries are crossing the Laos-China border daily.

However Chinese construction companies have informed border officials that they intend to bring between 500 or 1,000 vehicles across the border for the construction of Laos-China railway project.

“The Chinese trucks are very big and long and this will cause traffic congestion so the border will have to remain open longer,” Mr Phonsay said.

Chinese construction companies said their vehicles will cross the border in September this year but border officials have yet to see them so far, he added.

According to the Luang Namtha provincial Public Works and Transport Office, the construction of the railway project in the province has yet to actually commence because some landmine clearance activities are holding up the process.

Currently, Boten border checkpoint is closed at 8:00pm but when the 500 or 1,000 Chinese vehicles come to cross into Laos, the border officials plan to remain open until 10:00pm in a bid to reduce traffic congestion.

Mr Phonsay added that the construction of the Laos-China railway is good because it will reduce the number of vehicles being used for cross border goods transportation.

Right now, the roads in the country are quite small and their quality is not very high, he said.

The total value of goods imported and exported via the Boten international border was estimated at US$86 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Officials reported that there are 250,000 people including tourists and traders crossing the border in a year.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Laos has received Official Development Assistance from China and its citizens of about 1.3 billion yuan and this figure continues to increase each year.

China provided interest-free loans of about 1.3 billion yuan and about 8.6 billion yuan in low interest loans from 2005 to 2015 for the development of infrastructure, education and healthcare in Laos.

Laos recently approved the Vision 2030 which aims to raise its development status to that of a high middle-income country.

The 2025 Socio-economic Development Strategy has set out the conditions for achieving this status, with Gross Domestic Production (GDP) per capita targeted to double compared to the 2015 figure, to reach US$3,940 per capita.

The main indicator identified in the 8th National Socio-economic Development Plan for 2016-2020 is an average GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent, which must be achieved if Laos is to graduate from Least Developed Country status in 2020.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos-China Railway to Spur Border Zone Development

The Laos-China railway will provide significant momentum for the development of the Boten-Mohan border economic cooperation zone, experts have noted.

The railroad, a key project under China’s Belt and Road initiative, will link the Mohan-Boten border crossing in northern Laos to Vientiane, over a distance of 427 kilometres.

Experts are optimistic that the border economic cooperation zone could become a regional hub for trade, investment and tourism once the almost-US$6 -billion railway is complete.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told his visiting Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith in Beijing last week that China is willing to work with Laos to push forward the development of the railway and economic cooperation zone.

The two premiers witnessed the signing of two cooperative documents on border trade and the economic cooperative zone.

Mr Thongloun said he was committed to building the railway as it was of great importance to Laos in transforming the land-locked country into a land link within the region.

The political commitment by the two countries aims to ensure that the two projects progress as planned.

Located at the Mohan Border Port, which is China’s gateway to Laos and provides access to Southeast Asia’s most convenient land route, the economic zone has significant investment potential.

The Boten Specific Economic Zone is located in Luang Namtha province and is accessible by Road No. R3.

The zone is being developed by two Chinese companies – Yunnan Hai Cheng Industrial Group Stock Co., Ltd. and Hong Kong Fuk Hing Travel Entertainment Group Ltd.

Vice President of the zone’s management board, Mr Vonekham Phetthavong, told Vientiane Times recently that the developers are concentrating on infrastructure development and providing facilities to accommodate the investment and tourism sectors.

We are building two hotels which could be as high as 15 storeys, to accommodate tourists, he said.

About 1,000 tourists visit the zone each month. Our activities include trekking in forests, watching cultural performances and other activities.

The US$500 million project covers 1,640 hectares and comes with a concession period of 99 years.

The Chinese developers will focus on four large-scale projects: a duty free centre, bus station complex, warehousing and a resort featuring a large natural marsh, hotel, meeting hall and leisure areas.

Mr Vonekham said many more investors and visitors will head to northern Laos once the economic cooperation zone in the Boten-Mohan border area is fully operational.

However, so far the project has not progressed as anticipated. As of August this year, only a little over US$50 million had been spent on the Boten Specific Economic Zone by the new Chinese developers.

The China-Laos railway is a vital part of the trans-Asia railway network that will link China with ASEAN nations to boost economic cooperation and people-to-people ties.

Construction is expected to start simultaneously in a number of provinces this month, with the whole railway scheduled for completion over the next five years.

 

Source: Vientiane Times