Koh trol

A note by H.E. Dr. Say Bory
August 16, 2000
The Vietnamese had given this island a Vietnamese name: Phu Quoc

Historical Benchmarks:
  • 1856: King Ang Duong apprise Mr. de Montigny, French envoy in visit to Bangkok, through the intermediary of Bishop Miche, his intention to yield Koh Tral to France (cf. “The Second [French] Empire of IndoChina”).
  • 1863: Establishing the Protectorate of Cambodia, France annexed Kampuchea Krom, made a French colony out of it, and named it “Cochinchine”.
  • May 25, 1874: Koh Tral (Phu Quoc) which belonged to Cambodia (under the reign of King Ang Duong) was placed under the administration of the Governor of Cochinchine, i.e. under the administration of France, by the French Protectorate.
  • June 16, 1875: Koh Tral is attached to the inspection district of Hatien which was colonized by France. One needs to recall that in 1855, King Ang Duong reminded Napoleon III [first French President (1948-1852), later French Emperor (1852-1870)] that “the territories annexed by Vietnam located between the Western branch of the Mekong [River] and the Gulf of Siam (Hatien area) were “actually Cambodian land” (cf. A. Dolphin-Dauphin-Meunier – “History of Cambodia”, pg. 99). Therefore, Koh Tral always remains a Cambodian island, even though it is under the administration of colonial France.
  • January 31, 1939: the “Brévié Line” which is not a maritime border demarcation, but rather a line dividing the police and administrative authority “on the islands along the Gulf of Siam” [was established]. By this act, Koh Tral was placed, as it did in 1875, under the French colonial administration of Cochinchine. Brévié himself specified that “the territorial dependence of these islands (including that of Phu Quoc) remains entirely reserved”.
  • June 04, 1949: In spite of Cambodian protests and the Deferre Motion [the Deferre Motion has been part of the Bill of Transfer of French Cochinchine to Vietnam which spelled out specific rights of the Khmer Krom people], France voted a law allowing the attachment of the Cochinchine territory (Khmer territory) to Vietnam.
  • April 24, 1954: at the Geneva Conference, Cambodia still continued to protest against the unjust and uneven transfer of her Cochinchine lands to Vietnam by France, and reserved her right to litigate the case at the United Nations.
  • June 07, 1957: Norodom Sihanouk, President of the Council of Ministers, requested in a letter to Lon Nol, then National Defense Minister, to ensure the protection of all islands located along the Gulf of Siam (thus also including Koh Tral), and in particular, the group of islands of Poulo-Pangjang (Khmer name: Koh Krachak Ses; Vietnamese name: Tho Chu), Koh PouloWai (Khmer name: Koh Ach Ses) and Koh Tang.
  • December 30, 1957: In his Kret regarding the delimitation of the Cambodian continental shelf, King Norodom Suramarit clearly reaffirmed that Cambodia reserved her retention on her historical rights to Koh Tral (cf. Article 6 of the Kret).
  • 1963: In the book “Cambodia Geography” published in 1963 by Tan Kim Huon, a Khmer scholar who was also an agricultural engineer and forestry expert, [he indicated that] Koh Tral is indeed a Cambodian island (cf. maps no. 3, 12, and 19).
  • 1969: Koh Tral (Phu Quoc) is included in the official list of Cambodian islands published by the Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry, and was numbered 61 (on a total of 64 islands).
  • July 01, 1972: Following the July 1, 1972 Kret, the Khmer Republic Government maintains its
    reaffirmation of its sovereignty on its continental shelf and warns oil companies against [potential] consequences of any of their actions undertaken in this zone. Koh Tral still remains Cambodian.
  • 1975 to End of 1978: Status quo.
  • July 07, 1982: Koh Tral (Phu Quoc) and Poulo-Pangjang (Tho Chu) appear in the Vietnamese territory, on a map attached to the “Treaty on the Historical Water Zone between the Popular Republic of Kampuchea and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”.
  • Therefore, Vietnam annexes 30,000 sq. km. of Khmer maritime territory, and it creates the “historical sea” extending 10,000 sq. km. off of Koh Tral (cf. Cambodia: Oil Research, Continental Shelf – Mr. Sean Pengse, April 1995).

    Based on the facts cited above, a self-conclusion is obvious.


    1. Several of the Krets referred above are available at: http://www.cfcambodge.org/Anglais/CadreA.htm
    2. A map showing the Brevie Line is attached below. It was adapted from a map published on the CBC

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