By Vientiane Times
Laos and Thailand have made progress in the demarcation of their shared border, with the Joint Border Committee agreeing on several issues relating to the placement of border posts.
The two sides reached agreement at the Committee's 10th meeting held in Vientiane on Friday, attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Thongloun Sisoulith and his Thai counterpart General Tanasak Patimapragorn.
The issues agreed to include the Minutes of the 12th meeting of the Joint Technical Subcommittee, six previously placed additional border posts, GPS satellite pinpointing of broken markers in Lao territory, and instructions for additional surveys in the southern area of Nongbua.
The two sides heard about the initial results of their joint production of a new 1/25,000 scale map of the border along the Mekong River, the minutes of four previous meetings, and the creation of a border line in modified areas.
They also learnt about detailed surveys and plans of areas that have been modified, cleared, or built up.
The meeting also heard the outcome of a joint working group on the drafting of a master plan and terms of reference for the survey and installation of border posts along the Mekong River, and a new map of river border areas.
The Joint Border Committee also considered unresolved aspects of the border line such as the source of the Nam Heuang River, and the areas of Huay Don and Vangtao-Songmek
The meeting agreed that both sides would continue their consultations on the true location of border watershed areas. These differ from those identified in the 1/200,000 scale map in relation to two locations in the north and five in the south.
The meeting agreed to accelerate the measurement of coordinates on the Thai side.
Committee members also agreed that the joint technical subcommittee would undertake the repair of damaged border post No. 2-05.
More than 90 percent of the land border between Laos and Thailand has been demarcated. A total of 210 border posts have been installed over a distance of 676 kilometres since the two countries began the border survey on May 5, 1997.
“This shows the dedicated attempts of the two governments of Laos and Thailand to complete the placement of border posts between the two countries,” Mr Thongloun told the meeting.
Despite the progress made to date, he said there are still 14 areas the two governments need to further discuss and resolve. The meeting agreed that the border survey and installation of land border posts would be finished next year, while the installation of river border posts would be completed by 2018.
Meanwhile, more progress was made at the 19th Lao-Thai Joint Commission meeting held in Vientiane on Saturday.
Lao and Thai officials agreed on border security cooperation, embankments along the Mekong, upgrade of the Phakeo border checkpoint in Xayaboury to international level, acceleration of efforts to combat the trafficking of drugs and humans, sale of electricity, transport integration, investment, and other issues.