Cambodia and Vietnam to install markers along their border

The leaders of Cambodia and Vietnam agreed Tuesday to speed up work on installing markers along their land border under a controversial agreement reached last year that critics complained ceded Cambodian land to its larger communist neighbor. "I have proposed to the Vietnamese prime minister that the two countries finish putting up border markers in 2008," Hun Sen said, as his counterpart Phan Van Khai wrapped up a two-day visit to Cambodia .

Phan Van Khai said he agreed to the proposal. The two leaders signed a border pact last year in Hanoi , which drew heavy criticism in Cambodia .

Hun Sen responded to the criticism by suing and throwing several people in prison before allowing their release on bail last month, following strong domestic and international condemnation. Border issues are a passionate subject for many Cambodians, who have seen the vast territory once ruled by their ancient Angkor Empire swallowed up over the centuries by larger neighbors Vietnam and Thailand .

The Vietnam border is especially contentious, since Hanoi 's troops occupied Cambodia for a decade after toppling the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979. Hun Sen was foreign minister under the Vietnamese-installed communist government in the 1980s, and then prime minister. Cambodia and Vietnam share a land border measuring about 1,230 kilometers (765 miles), reports the AP.

N.U.