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Ban Tha Sen: NSC Weighs Permanent Checkpoint for Enhanced Cambodia Trade

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The Ban Tha Sen crossing in Muang district of Trat is currently a bustling hub of activity, albeit only three days a week, as it serves as a pivotal point for border trade with Cambodia. Behind its promise lies a hope shimmering among provincial officials—a dream for this crossing to become a permanent checkpoint, a bridge connecting aspirations and economies. (Photo: Ministry of Commerce)

TRAT: The National Security Council (NSC) is embarking on a diligent journey to unravel the myriad trade benefits and security concerns tied to this ambitious plan of inaugurating a new permanent border checkpoint with Cambodia. This revelation came from a senior official on a bright Friday, setting the stage for potential transformation.

Authorities in Trat province are fervently advocating for Ban Tha Sen in Muang district to be granted the stature of a permanent checkpoint following cabinet approval, with the crucial backing of the NSC hanging in the balance. This crossing, which seamlessly connects with Phothisat province in Cambodia, is currently operational for a mere three days each week, primarily to bolster local border trade. However, it has yet to receive the coveted status of an official checkpoint.

The Ministry of Commerce is equally enthusiastic about this development, seeing it as a golden opportunity. They envision the pass metamorphosing into a vibrant gateway, facilitating the seamless transport of goods to Phothisat, a province bustling with a population of 330,000. The ambitions stretch even further, all the way to Phnom Penh, located about 230 kilometers beyond the border—a tantalizing prospect indeed.

Yet, the path to this dream is laden with obstacles, not least the simmering border conflicts. This lingering issue was the main point of discussion when a visiting NSC delegation, spearheaded by the astute deputy secretary-general Woranat Khongmuang, arrived on the scene on that eventful Friday.

A marine unit, stalwart guardians of the area, apprised the delegation of a thorny issue that has been prickling their side—structures erected by Cambodia, including a segment of a casino and residential quarters, encroaching on Thai soil at 18 different locations at Ban Tha Sen. This land dispute has sparked multiple formal protests from Thailand to Cambodian local authorities and the upper echelons of the Phnom Penh government, stressing Thailand’s sovereignty.

The crux of the tension is the border casino complex in Cambodia, a grandiose project funded by Chinese investors, and now home to around 2,000 Chinese nationals, according to Thai security authorities.

Mr. Woranat, with the weight of responsibility upon his shoulders, assured that the NSC will scrutinize the situation meticulously. They aim to map out a comprehensive solution to the contentious border encroachment before furnishing their recommendation on the future of the Ban Tha Sen crossing.

In summary, the Ban Tha Sen crossing’s future teeters on a knife-edge, balanced between hopeful trade opportunities and stringent security concerns. The NSC’s upcoming evaluation will be instrumental in determining whether this aspiring checkpoint will blossom into a permanent bridge of commerce and camaraderie or remain a wistfully intermittent passage.


  1. Sophia Lee July 5, 2024

    Why not just make Ban Tha Sen a permanent checkpoint already? The economic benefits are obvious!

    • Jake July 5, 2024

      Economic benefits are great, but what about the security concerns? The border disputes are a serious issue.

      • Sophia Lee July 5, 2024

        Security is important, but continuous checkpoints could help monitor and manage these disputes more effectively.

      • Anna July 5, 2024

        True, Sophia. But there’s also the issue of the casino and Chinese influence. It’s a complex problem.

  2. Tom July 5, 2024

    This seems like a great idea for local businesses! Increased trade could boost the local economy.

    • Karen Smith July 5, 2024

      Sure, but at what cost? The locals might face cultural and environmental changes that could disrupt their way of life.

    • Tom July 5, 2024

      Those are valid points, Karen. But couldn’t those be managed with proper regulations?

    • grower134 July 5, 2024

      Regulations are only good if they’re enforced. Look at all the encroachments already happening!

  3. Rajesh July 5, 2024

    What about the environmental impact of turning Ban Tha Sen into a permanent checkpoint? It could be devastating.

    • Ellie July 5, 2024

      Good point, Rajesh. Environmental assessments should definitely be part of the process.

    • Rajesh July 5, 2024

      Exactly, Ellie. Balancing economic benefits with environmental protection is crucial.

  4. Larry D July 5, 2024

    I don’t understand why border disputes are still a thing. Can’t diplomacy solve this?

    • Jennifer July 5, 2024

      Diplomacy is always an option, but it’s not always a straightforward solution. Historical context matters.

    • Larry D July 5, 2024

      True, Jennifer. But at some point, there has to be a resolution. Isn’t that what diplomacy is for?

  5. Maya July 5, 2024

    Permanent checkpoints must be a priority if we want seamless trade with Cambodia!

    • David R July 5, 2024

      Maya, it’s not just about trade. Security and sovereignty are major concerns here.

  6. Olivia July 5, 2024

    Honestly, I’m worried about the increase in Chinese influence. How do we know this won’t become another debt trap?

  7. Joe July 5, 2024

    Why is there always so much resistance to economic progress? Let’s get things moving!

  8. Emily July 5, 2024

    Because, Joe, not everyone views progress the same way. There are legitimate concerns to address first.

  9. grower134 July 5, 2024

    It’s all politics! At the end of the day, the locals are the ones who suffer.

  10. Nina July 5, 2024

    What do the Cambodian authorities say about this? Are they addressing the encroachment issues?

  11. Jason T. July 5, 2024

    Not only business but cultural exchange could be beneficial too. We should think more globally.

  12. Arthur July 5, 2024

    It’s funny how everyone ignores the potential for increased illegal activities with these new checkpoints.

    • Samantha July 5, 2024

      That’s a good point, Arthur. Increased trading hubs can sometimes attract the wrong kind of attention.

    • Arthur July 5, 2024

      Exactly, and then we end up dealing with a whole new set of problems.

  13. Henry July 5, 2024

    We need a stronger focus on national security. No new checkpoints until all border issues are resolved!

  14. Isabella July 5, 2024

    Instead of arguing, why don’t we try a pilot program first to see how the permanent checkpoint would actually work?

  15. Mark July 5, 2024

    It sounds like a great idea in theory, but are we ready for the potential fallout?

  16. Debbie D July 5, 2024

    I agree with Mark. There needs to be a lot more research and preparation before making this permanent.

  17. Lucas July 5, 2024

    But we can’t stay in limbo forever. At some point, we need to take action and make decisions!

  18. Alex W July 5, 2024

    Anyone know what the local population thinks about this? Their voices are often overshadowed in these decisions.

  19. Sophie July 5, 2024

    The local voices matter the most. This decision will directly impact their lives.

    • Nina July 5, 2024

      Exactly, Sophie. We need to have more community involvement in these decisions.

  20. Lucas July 5, 2024

    Community involvement sounds great, but let’s be honest, major decisions are seldom made by locals.

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