Koh Kood sovereignty 'not at risk'

Koh Kood sovereignty 'not at risk'

Koh Kood in Trat province. (File photo)
Koh Kood in Trat province. (File photo)

The government has given its assurance Thailand will not lose sovereignty over Koh Kood in Trat province to Cambodia in future negotiations between the two countries with regards to the sharing of marine resources in their overlapping claims area (OCA).

It is clearly stated in the treaty signed between France and Siam -- the former name of Thailand -- in 1907 that France returned Trat and islands between the Ling cape and Koh Kood to Siam, said Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara during the Senate's general debate on Monday night.

The minister said he agreed with the Senate's suggestion that any new negotiations about the demarcation of the disputed continental shelf in the Thai-Cambodian overlapping claims area must be conducted alongside any talks on the sharing of underwater resources.

A continental shelf is the edge of a continent that lies under the ocean.

Mr Parnpree, also a deputy prime minister, was responding to concerns raised over the possible diplomatic and legal repercussions of the Thai government's alleged plan to negotiate with Cambodia on the sharing of marine resources without any mention of the continental shelf issue.

Despite his affirmation that the two matters should be discussed in tandem in future talks, Mr Parnpree admitted that, at this point, he had no authority to decide on the issue as a committee in charge of such negotiations has not been formed yet. Its formation would require cabinet approval, he said.

Four rounds of formal talks and eight rounds of informal negotiations have been conducted between Thailand and Cambodia, pursuant to a memorandum of understanding signed in 2001 by the two countries expressing their intention to reconcile on the overlapping claims area, Mr Parnpree said. There has since been no progress on the issue, he added.

On Feb 7, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet paid an official visit to Thailand. At the time, the OCA matter was also discussed, among other topics.

The Thai and Cambodian leaders subsequently agreed to further discuss the sharing of resources in the overlapping claims area, said the minister.

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