The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cambodia, DPRK defense officials meet to share experience

PHNOM PENH, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) defense officials met here on Monday aiming to strengthen cooperation and share experience on national defense, said a Cambodian spokesman. A nine defense officials delegation from the DPRK, headed by Pak Jae-gyong, vice minister of the People's Armed Forces of the DPRK, held a meeting with Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh on Monday afternoon, Chhum Socheat, the spokesman for the Cambodian Defense Ministry, said after the meeting. "The delegation's visit in Cambodia is to re-strengthen cooperation between Cambodia and the DPRK in all sectors," he said. "Also, both sides have shared experience on national defense." Later in the day, the delegation met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Pak Jae-gyong conveyed greetings from President Kim Jong-il to Hun Sen and thanked Cambodia for the warm welcome to his delegation during the visit, the premier's spokesman Eng Sophalleth told reporters after a 30-minute meeting. Pak said the relation between the DPRK and Cambodia has been built by Marshall Kim Il Sung and former King Norodom Sihanouk and it has lasted for more than 40 years since. Pak Jae-gyong also invited Hun Sen to visit the DPRK. In response, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia is pleased to expand cooperation with the DPRK in all sectors, especially in trades and commerce, according to Eang Sophalleth. Hun Sen accepted the invitation to visit the DPRK at a proper time in the future. The delegation arrived in Cambodia on Sunday for a three day visit. They will also visit engineering schools for Cambodian armed forces. Read more!

Prawit: Border talks must remain bilateral

Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon agrees that Thailand and Cambodia can discuss their border disputes in Indonesia, but insists that any such talks must be bilateral and Indonesian authorities must not be involved. Gen Prawit was responding on Monday to a report that his Cambodian counterpart Gen Tea Banh proposed that the next meetings of the Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) and of the Thai-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) be held together in Indonesia. Gen Prawit said Gen Tea Banh had not informed him of his proposal yet. He said the next meeting of the GBC and JBC should not be held at the same time. The JBC meeting should come first because the GBC meeting's agenda is security along the Thai-Cambodian border and was ‘’discussable’’. There should not be a problem, the defence minister said. At the next GBC meeting the two sides will discuss problems in implementing agreements over the disputed border area, security along the border, illegal labour, drug smuggling and other crime. When Gen Prawit was asked by the reporters what he would say if Cambodia insisted the meeting take place in Indonesia, he said Thai authorities would have no problem with that, but both sides would need to talk first. However he insisted the GBC meeting must be bilateral. ‘’ Asean (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has agreed that Indonesia will take part only in the news conference and will not attend the meeting. We have no problem if things remain this way,’’ Gen Prawit said. The general reiterated his previous position that the Thai-Cambodian border dispute does not affect the travel or trade of people in either country and the two sides can still sit around a table and negotiate,. There, there should be no need to hold the JBC and GBC meetings in a third country. Meanwhile, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) spokesman Panthep Puapongpan has filed a petition with the House of Representatives, again demanding that parliament refuse to endorse the three JBC memos under the 2000 MoU regarding border issues. The PAD claims that parliamentary endorsement of the three memos, which were signed in 2009 and in 2008 by the Joint Boundary Commission, would result in a significant loss of territory. The government will table the three memos in parliament tomorrow. Read more!

Police beat Cambodian garment workers

At least eight female garment workers were injured on Monday in clashes with Cambodian riot police, who used shields and electric shock batons to end a protest over a factory closure, witnesses and a union said. At least eight female garment workers were injured on Monday in clashes with Cambodian riot police, who used shields and electric shock batons to end a protest over a factory closure, witnesses and a union said. Some demonstrators were pushed to the ground and shocked with batons when police with guns and riot gear were deployed to forcibly end a road blockade by an estimated 1,000 female workers who were demanding unpaid wages and compensation after a local factory went bankrupt. The clashes were the latest setback for an industry that forms a vital part of Cambodia's fledgling $10 billion economy. The garment sector was badly hit during the global economic slump from 2008 and more recently has been plagued by strikes over low pay and working conditions. "Police were ordered to beat up workers, some were hit in the heads and shoulders and others were pushed to the ground," said Chhoeun Chanthy, a 30-year-old garment worker . "We were not afraid, we were peaceful." Chea Mony, president of the Cambodia's Free Trade Union (FTU), told Reuters the total number of injured was unknown and some workers were being held in police custody. "This is very serious. These workers were only in dispute with employers," Chea Mony said. "This violence is not justified," he said, adding that a government committee tasked with dealing with such disputes was "useless". Phnom Penh police chief Touch Naruth declined to comment and a legal representative for the factory was unavailable. Garment manufacturing is Cambodia's third-biggest currency earner after agriculture and tourism. About 30,000 jobs were lost in 2009 after a drop in sales to the United States and Europe. The downturn led to a strike by more than 210,000 garment factory workers last year and more mass strikes have been threatened over a controversial move by the government to regulate trade unions. Cambodia exported garments, textiles and shoes to the value of $2.3 billion in 2009, down from $2.9 billion in 2008. According to the World Bank, the sector is in recovery and exports grew 24 percent in 2010 after a 20 percent contraction. An estimated 300,000 of Cambodia's 13.4 million people work in the sector and send vital cash to impoverished rural villages where many people live on less than $1 a day. Reuters Read more!