Home > Local News > Army chief confirms adjustment of troops near Preah Vihear, but no withdrawal

Army chief confirms adjustment of troops near Preah Vihear, but no withdrawal

BANGKOK, Dec 20 – Thai army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday
dismissed reports that the army has withdrawn troops from the disputed
area near the Preah Vihear temple, but said the Thai troop deployment
has been adjusted and that their Cambodian counterparts had begun such
moves first.

Gen Prayuth made his remarks as he was departing for Cambodia Monday to introduce himself after taking up his post.

The army chief, accompanied by the commanders of Thailand’s First and
Second Army Areas who supervise the territory adjacent to Cambodia, is
scheduled to discuss with his Cambodian counterpart regarding the
long-established relations between the two neighbouring countries and
the current dispute on several issues.

As Cambodia adjusted its troop deployment, the Thai Army chief said,”
and the 2nd Army Area think that our troop deployment should also be
adjusted to reduce possible confrontations.”

“With troops from both sides only 20-30 metres away from each other,
clashes could possibly occur, so we just step out a bit from the area,”
Gen Prayuth said, while reaffirming that both Cambodia and Thailand
still maintain their army personnel in the disputed area to certify
that no party will infringe the existing agreement made by the two
kingdoms.

Gen Prayuth asserted that the soldiers are ready to return to their
posts near the disputed zone immediately if any untoward incident
occurs.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier asserted that Thai troops
stationed at the Thai-Cambodian border in Si Sa Ket province will not
be withdrawn when Cambodia reopens the border gate to the 11th century
Preah Vihear temple but said the military may consider a adjustment the
assignment of its troops.

Thailand and Cambodia have been at loggerheads over Preah Vihear since
the World Heritage Committee added it to the World Heritage List in
2008. The listing has nothing to do with the boundaries, but Thailand
feared Cambodia would use the disputed areas adjacent to the temple as
a buffer zone, particularly the 4.6 square metre area which is claimed
by both countries.

Since the conflict started, there has been a military standoff, on and
off, along the two countries’ border and several military clashes
resulted in limited casualties on both sides.

The International Court of Justice on June 15, 1962 ruled in favour of Cambodia, saying Preah Vihear belongs to the Khmers.

However, relations between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai
Prime Minister Abhisit appear to have improved in recent months
following a series of meetings held on the sidelines of international
and regional summits. (MCOT online news)

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Categories: Local News
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