Home > Local News > [Thai] Troops ready to remove ‘invaders’ sign

[Thai] Troops ready to remove ‘invaders’ sign

Thai troops are threatening to remove a stone tablet
(pictured) on disputed land carrying a message calling Thai soldiers
“invaders” if Cambodian authorities do not do it themselves, a military
border source says.

Second Army commander Thawatchai Samutsakhon has asked Cambodian troops to remove the tablet bearing the Khmer message accusing Thai troops of invading Cambodian territory, in front of Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara.

The temple, about 300 metres from Preah Vihear, is in a disputed 4.6-square-kilometre area claimed by both countries.

The
military source said the Cambodian soldiers appeared reluctant to
remove the tablet as they had to wait for an order from their
commanders before taking any action.

The stone tablet was unveiled by Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh last month, the source said.

“We will wait and see if the Cambodians take it down,” the source said. “If they won’t, Thai troops will remove it.”

The
source said the message on the tablet read: “This is the area where
Thais invaded Cambodian territory on July 15, 2008. Cambodian soldiers
managed to expel the Thais from Cambodian territory on Dec 1, 2010.”

The events referred to involved army specialist Kanok Nettarakawesana, then commander of the Suranaree task force,
who led 20 troops to Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara on July 15, 2008, to
hold talks with Cambodian authorities on the return of three Thais
detained in the disputed area.

The three were members of the ultra-nationalist Dharmayatra group which was protesting against Thailand’s support of Phnom Penh‘s listing of Preah Vihear as a Unesco world heritage site. The three were freed after four hours of negotiations.

The Thai troops then remained in the temple and steadily increased their number to 200. The two sides later agreed to a staged reduction of troops at the temple to 30, then 20 and finally 10.

The last 10 Thai soldiers withdrew on Dec 1, after which Cambodian soldiers claimed victory and erected the stone tablet.

Bangkok Post
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Categories: Local News
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