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Cambodia, Laos, agree to step up border demarcation effort

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, talks with his Laos counterpart Thonloun Sisoulith, left, as they witness to a signing ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. Thonloun Sisoulith is on his two-day official visit to Cambodia.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, talks with his Laos counterpart Thonloun Sisoulith, left, as they witness to a signing ceremony in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. Thonloun Sisoulith is on his two-day official visit to Cambodia. AP Photo

The leaders of Cambodia and Laos agreed Thursday to step up efforts to complete demarcation of their border, where disputes have led to armed confrontations in recent years.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his visiting Lao counterpart, Thongloun Sisoulith, agreed in a statement to complete the process now that 86% of the border has been marked. The two countries are to add border pillars and produce a map of the borderline as party.

The statement also said the countries would encourage their citizens to act responsibly to turn the frontier area "into a border of lasting peace, friendship and cooperation."

Cambodia and Laos reportedly dispatched troops to the border region last month in a standoff over the disputed boundary.

There was a similar confrontation in August 2017 when Laos objected to Cambodia's construction of a road in disputed territory.

Thongloun and his delegation are meeting top Cambodian leaders during a two-day visit. Both countries have liberalized their economies, but Laos remains a single-party state and both nations restrict political dissent.

The countries signed four agreements concerning Cambodia's purchase of electricity from Laos, and a memorandum of understanding covering cooperation on labor.

Cambodia faces a shortfall of electricity as it has undergone a construction boom, funded in large part by investment from China. Laos has an electricity surplus from its large hydropower projects.

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