04 January 2008

Spratly Islands and Koh Tral កោះត្រល់

The Spratly islands are 800km from Ho Chi Minh City, 1300km from Hong Kong. This archipelago comprised of more than 600 smalls rocks and corral reefs located in the South China Sea. It is hotly in dispute between China and Vietnam which both staked claims to the islands. Lately in 08 December, 2007 Vietnamese organised a demontration protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City. They rallied by shouted slogans against China to "stop invading" their territory.

When this news first came out I didn't have time to write it right away for I was extremely busy helping my mother at the village. Nevertheless, the high tension on high sea between China and Vietnam is still there; hence, it really piqued my interest in region of South China Sea even more. I then began to think the issue in parallel to my Camobodia's Koh Tral island.

Separately in comparison to the incident with the Spratly islands, Cambodia's biggest Koh Tral island is so close to our coastline. It is just 15km from Kampot province. Koh Tral sits right in Cambodia waters. Each time of day when the wind clears away the fog, we can see peaks of our Koh Tral from our coastline Kep or from Mount Bokor in Kampot province.

Yet, the distance of Koh Tral to Vietnam is 3 times more than it is to Cambodia. It's 45km to the closest southern tip Ha Tien province of Vietnam.

Vietnam took our island as 'under their administration'. Vietnam has the tendency to eliminate any trace of Cambodian origin, so they changed the original name Koh Tral to Phu Quoc . The term that the island is 'under Vietnamese administration' are just flowery words to cover up from the international community. I know at the present day there is no direct access to Koh Tral from our Cambodia side. Our Khmer fishermen will be arrested or shot by Vietnamese soldiers if we're straying in waters closer to the island.

So when the Vietnamese shouted to China "stop invading" on the Spratly islands, I was wondering if those demonstrators have any conscience of what they or their government did to our Cambodia Koh Tral island.

To me, Koh Tral is always ours. I am so sad for the lost of this island at this present time. As Vietnam always claimed they are friends of Cambodia. Friends don't take personal properties from one another. So I hope one day and soon, Vietnam would relinquish Koh Tral administration duty and hand it back to us wholeheartedly.

ពីខ្ញុំ​ វណ្ណះ,
ក្រុងរាជធានី ភ្នំពេញ
០៤ មករា ២០០៨


Arun said...

Dear Vanak.
Once in a while I log to the Block by Khmer.I'm really like your comment.Koh Tral is belonging to Cambodia,vietnam must return it to Khmer.What and how could we do to take it back?We can't trust the cpp present because there are a lot of secret vietcongs that hun sen
secretly dealing with to kill Khmer compatriots,Khmer educated people as much as he can so that viets can do what they want,not only Koh Tral
,hun sen want viet swallow Cambodia also.hun sen is acting like he love Cambodians but at the back door he kill Khmer in slow motion way.
A bout Koh Tral could we sue vietnam to the United Nations?

Blog By Khmer said...

I'm glad I have faithful readers to my blog. Thank you for coming back to checking on me.

I don't know if we could take Vietnam to World Court over Koh Tral. I wish we could. Just like we brought the Siamese to World Court in the Hague in 1962 over our Prasat Preah Vihear.

miss_tda said...

it's sad isn't it? I have no hope that they will hand koh tral back to us...(take kampuchea krom as an example). But I'm only hoping that they won't take more from us.

CJ Conner said...

their Karma will catch up to them sooner or later- and at last they don't want to make china mad- they might become a part of the "One China" policy... lol...

Nhuong Son said...

Vietnam can mess with Cambodia as much as they want, because Cambodia aren't as powerful as they are but I doubt that they will get those island. China will not give up that easy. In china, it's all about "face", losing those island to Vietnam will cause them to look weak. They will never let that happen.

Anonymous said...

Trey Thom See Trey Tauch
The Big Fish has to eat the small one.
China is going to chop Yuon soon.
Regarding to Law of Karma Yuon will pay the high interests for their sins.Pls wait and see it.
Siam is also too.

Blog By Khmer said...

Thank you all for your comments.

CJ -- lolz "One China"

Nhuong -- Great point and so true about "losing face" I never thought of that.

Anonymous said...

Dear Vanak,
I've read some of your posts and I'm proud of you, very proud. Here what we can do together.

US Congressman Christopher Smith from New Jersey loves human rights and he is very very critical of the Vietnamese government or any communist regime, Read this article


You could also write what you have written: land grabbing in our country, curruption, Khmer Krom, Koh Tral ..., anything you like to his communication director: Ryan.Goodwin@mail.house.gov

And to Vanak's audience too, together we may get some attention.

Jake Tornado said...

Other than Vietnam, Cambodia and China, several countries have laid claim over the whole or some of the
islands in the Spratleys Group. They are the Philippines (my country, geographically, some of the islets are nearer to Palawan), Malaysia and Taiwan.

But instead of creating tensions between these countries, they should meet the issue through diplomacy and transform Spratleys to a "region of economic cooperation and prosperity" rather than a "region of conflict". These countries should instead gather their resources and spend their energies in exploring the natural gases and oil deposits which these islands are believed to be abundant of.

My two-cents' worth.

Blog By Khmer said...

Jake,--that's right. Thanks for pointed that out. According to Wikipedia, the Spratley are claimed by :
China-- claimed ALL of the islands
Vietnam-- claimed ALL of the islands.
Taiwan -- claimed ALL of the islands.
Malaysia -- claimed a portions
Philippines -- claimed a portions
Brunei -- claimed a portions

Thanks again.


sopheaktr said...

you are day dreaming,. the island is now being developed and alot oftourists go there. VN now got a lot of profit from the island,. and it will become the heaven island soon in the future,. KR used to control the island when they came in power,. a coflict then happened with VN but KR fail,..

Anonymous said...

Big Fish eat Small Fish!
That's true. Tho Vietnam claimed the possession of the islands more than 200 years ago, and Vietnam map always included those islands. The French built a small meteo station and a small base over there. The French handed the islands over to South Vietnam goverment, and (South) VN navy was in charge of them since 1956.
First time China invaded the islands was in 1972.
Cambodia goverment should make some ad in China in order to draw more Chinese into the country to help build the country and to defend and scare the Viet and Thai. 1 and 1/2 million Chinese lived presently in Cambo is not enough, So consider giveing all the illegal Chineses the permanent resident status

Anonymous said...

Thanks Vanak!

We are khmers we have to protect our territory. Our ancesters worked so hard to protect our land. Why don't we! Khmers all open eyes and see what we have left. If they we don't stand up for ourselves who will stand for us!!! That's why our government doesn't want its own citizens to be rich because the rich are difficult to control. The rich normally educate their children, and educated persons know what is right and what is wrong. Get up and unite to put an end to the crooks, betrayals, and the corrupt. They are the parasites that bring our society down to hell. They make people poor and they give abit of something such 2000 riels, or 10 kg of rice, or one sarong, or 50 grams of MSG to make people happy. This happens in the country side because there people don't have enough food to eat and don't go to school. They can't go to school because they are poor, no money for clothes, books, for bribing the teachers. Teachers don't usually go to school because they have to find something to put in their pot first otherwise they will die before getting 20,000 riels salary.

By doing this people have no time to think about the government or country. They only think about what to eat tomorrow. THis happens often in my area.

Anonymous said...

Vannak is the Khmer patriot. You are the King of Khmer people in my book. I enjoy your leadership and bravery in speaking up for what you believe in.

Funanian said...

I checked out about Koh Tral at


and the list of Cambodian islands


Well, Koh Tral is being adminsterd by Vietname. I have no idea how this happened. But when I was in high school I learnt that Koh Tral belongs to Cambodia. Hope that the Cambodian Goverment will do sth positive about it. Why handed Koh Tral to Vietnamese Administration ? Cant Cambodian governmnet administer it well ?

And What the heck's wrong with Vietname ? Still longing for more land from Cambodia ! Go f*** yourself.... It's time to Stop Invading !

Anonymous said...

the islands are closer to the Philippines so the country can claim it as theirs. People should stop invading it. The country that needs it the most should have it. Or just make it a small country.