Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cambodia says Thai troops on its soil increase to about 200

By Puy Kea PHNOM PENH, July 16 KYODO
Cambodia on Wednesday claimed that more Thai troops entered its territory overnight, with the figure increasing from 170 late Tuesday to about 200 Wednesday morning. Information Minister Khieu Kanharith told a press conference that some 380 Cambodian soldiers are deployed in the same area, near the Preah Vihear temple that has been at the center of a bitter 50-year dispute on the Thai-Cambodian border. The government spokesman said the Cambodian side does not intend to resort to use of force, as it would be counterproductive for bilateral relations, and hopes the Thai side is of the same mind.
If Thailand were to launch a military attack, he said, it would be strongly condemned by the international community and such action would also damage the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which both countries are members. Cambodia will use all bilateral and diplomatic channels to avert fighting, he said, adding that representatives of two governments will soon meet in Thailand.
Cambodia claimed Tuesday that some 30 Thai soldiers had entered its territory in the vicinity of the temple -- just hours after Cambodian border authorities detained three Thais around 9 a.m. for illegally entering the temple, which is under Cambodian control. The three -- a Buddhist monk, a clergyman and a clergywoman -- were released later in the day and returned to Thailand. The ancient cliff-top temple was last week inscribed as a World Heritage site, capping seven years of efforts by Phnom Penh over Bangkok's objections. Thailand had occupied the area from 1949 when Cambodia was a French protectorate, but Cambodia won possession of the temple through an International Court of Justice ruling in 1962.
July 16, 2008