It is perhaps business as usual for the two countries, who have before sent soldiers to the border areas over territorial disputes
Just a day after a deal was made between Laos and Cambodia to withdraw forces from the border the countries share, where a tense territorial dispute has been playing out over several months, dozens of Laos soldiers have reportedly begun construction on a post in the area.
The standoff has been developing for nearly two months, with 400 Laos soldiers reportedly moving into Cambodia’s Siem Pang district on 8 February to stop Cambodian military engineers from building a road along the border from Stung Treng City to Siem Pang district. The 257km road, according to the Laos soldiers, had encroached on their country’s territory.
The back-and-forth escalated last weekend when Laos forces tried to stop the Cambodian construction of a border post in a contested area near the border. The two countries had previously agreed to avoid building in that area until a joint border committee could help demarcate the border.
By Tuesday, roughly 40 Laos soldiers had entered the area. One day later, officials from both countries had agreed to table the dispute until after Khmer New Year, an important holiday in Cambodia officially running from 14 – 16 April of this year.
But by Thursday, more than 30 Laos soldiers broke the agreement, starting construction on the border post.
“At about 10 am, more than 30 Laotian soldiers came transporting bricks, wood and other stuff at the border in [the] same place where they prevented Cambodians,” provincial spokesman Men Kung told The Cambodia Daily.
“We have no idea why they came back again. They probably have not compromised with each other yet,” he added.
Border tussles between Cambodia and Laos are nothing new. The building of a Laos military outpost in the same area last year drew the ire of the Cambodian government, who deployed soldiers in response to Laos threatening violence if they were stopped from constructing the post.