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Thai-Cambodian tension continue

Updated On: Oct 06, 2008

Top Cambodian (Srey Dek) and Thai (Colonel Chayan Huaysoongnern) commanders held a meeting at their disputed border area on 4 October 2008 to jointly look at the contentious problem which had injured three soldiers (1 Cambodian and two Thais) already.

Both sides exchanged gun and rocket artillery on 3 October 2008 near an ancient and venerated temple. Prior to this, 1000 Cambodian and Thai troops have already faced off in this area for a period of six weeks.

To set the right tone for the meeting, they met at a Buddhist pagoda in the area where the conflict took place. Both sides see the urgency in returning to normality despite the angry letters exchanged between the two countries by their respective foreign ministries.

The Thais are insisting that Cambodian soldiers trespassed into Thai territory and that Cambodian soldiers opened fire first while the Cambodians were unhappy about Thai provocations. Despite a mutual agreement to retreat in mid-August 2008, leaving only skeleton staff of a few dozen troops on both sides, the two countries continue to bicker on issues of sovereignty.

This dispute, already running into its first decade, flared up in July 2008 after the Khmer temple of Preah Vihear was granted world heritage status by Unesco. This immediately angered conservatives and nationalists who argued that the Thais owned the site.

Perhaps, it will take even higher political muscles to resolve this issue. Thai prime minister Somchai Wongsawat will visit the Cambodian capital later in October 2008 to talk to Cambodian PM Hun Sen about this issue.

Sources:

Brunei Times, "Thai, Cambodian officers meet at site of border clash" dated 5 October 2008 in the Brunei Times website [downloaded on 6 oct 2008], available athttp://www.bt.com.bn/en/asia_news/2008/10/05/thai_cambodian_officers_mee...

Reuters, "Thailand says Cambodia fired first in border clash" dated 5 Oct 2008 in the Reuters website [downloaded on 6 Oct 2008], available athttp://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE4940CF20081005







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