Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara underscored the significance of the impending discussions, indicating their potential impact on the policies of relevant ministries and agencies. Thai Prime Minister’s advisor, Pichai Naripthaphan, emphasized that the forthcoming talks would shift the focus to collaborative utilization of the OCA’s energy resources, steering away from maritime border disputes.
The urgency of these discussions is underscored by the time-sensitive nature of exploring and drilling energy resources, estimated to span between 2 to 7 years. Thailand, leveraging its existing natural gas infrastructure, aims to conclude the talks before the current government’s term concludes, aligning with Cambodia’s shared interests for mutual benefits.
While a memorandum of understanding signed in 2001 outlined joint development in parts of the OCA and the demarcation of a maritime border, progress has been hindered by disagreements over the maritime boundary. Experts recommend a concentrated effort on joint energy resource development to reduce dependence on imported liquefied natural gas, advising a temporary shelving of the maritime dispute to maintain amicable bilateral relations. Additionally, the Thai government is contemplating the establishment of a new joint technical committee to facilitate these crucial discussions.