China and India
China and India have signed an agreement to establish a mechanism which aims to help prevent further border disputes between the two countries by strengthening bilateral cooperation on border affairs and maintaining peace and tranquility on border areas. The borders, however, have yet to be defined by either country, despite the fact that talks surrounding the issue have been going on since 2003. The disputed areas include Aksai Chin, located either in the Indian province of Kashmir or the Chinese province of Xinjiang in the west and Arunachal Pradesh, located east of India and south of China.
Under the agreement, diplomatic and military officials from both countries will meet once or twice a year to discuss how they can actively work towards maintaining a friendly atmosphere in border areas, as well as to how they can better improve cooperation and improve mutual trust.
China’s state councilor Dai Bingguo has expressed his opinion that “the working mechanism will address issues and situations that may arise in the border areas that affect the maintenance of peace and tranquility and will work actively toward maintaining the friendly atmosphere between the two countries”. By so doing, it could help facilitate the long-running border dispute, although opinions vary as to whether the agreement will prove effective. This is because while the mechanism may serve the abovementioned functions, it will not discuss resolution of the boundary question.
Report: India, China Bid to Ease Border Row for Broader Ties (CNN, 17 January 2012)
Report: China, India Sign Pact on Border Affairs (China Daily, 18 January 2012)
Report: India, China Border Pact No Solution (Wall Street Journal, 17 January 2012)
Cambodia and Thailand
Following Cambodia’s and Thailand’s agreement to ask for assistance in mediating a territorial dispute, Indonesia has agreed to deploy military personnel to the Thailand-Cambodia border sometime this May.
In a follow-up to the ICJ’s decision to have both countries withdraw their military personal from the provisional demilitarized zone defined by the ICJ last year, Cambodia agreed to have Indonesia serve as a mediator to the dispute. However, Thailand did not acquiesce to the proposal as it was in the midst of a government change. As a result, plans to send 15 of Indonesia’s military personnel to each side of the border were not carried to fruition.
The dispute between Thailand and Cambodia centers around Preah Vihear, the 11th Century Hindu temple located along the borders of the two countries. Although a ruling made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1962 gave the right of the temple to Cambodia, Thailand claims the land surrounding the temple. The dispute, therefore, centers around this area. In essence, the Indonesian observer team to be sent this year is to work with both countries to ensure that compliance in observing ICJ’s ruling is met.
Report: RI Ready to Send Observers to Cambodia, Thailand (The Jakarta Post, 17 January 2012)
Report: Indonesian Observer Team For Thai-Cambodia Border (Bernama, 17 Janaury 2012)