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Protest to be lodged over flag

Preah Vihear tense after influx of Cambodian troops

The government will flex its muscles for the protesting yellow
shirts from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to show it will
protect land in disputed border areas. It plans to issue a statement of
protest against Cambodia.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has
instructed the Foreign Ministry to issue a protest, because Phnom Penh
has refused to remove its national flag from the disputed area adjacent
to the Hindu temple at Preah Vihear, the ministry spokesman Thani
Thongpakdi said.
“Concerned officials are working on it and we
could issue the statement soon,” he said. Abhisit said last week that
Cambodia had no right to fly its national flag at Wat Keo Sikkha Kiri
Svara temple as Thailand also claimed territorial rights to the area.
Thailand
managed to convince Cambodia to remove two stone tablets saying the
area where Thai troops invaded in 2008 belonged to Cambodia.
However
Phnom Penh refused to follow any further demand from Bangkok to remove
its national flag there. It says the temple built by Cambodian people
in 1998 is clearly situated in Cambodian territory.
“Therefore
the national flag of Cambodia is legitimately able to fly over the
pagoda,” a statement by Cambodia’s Foreign Ministry said last week.
The
border area adjacent to Preah Vihear has been argued over ever since
the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in 1962 that the temple
was situated in Cambodian territory.
Abhisit has argued that the ICJ ruled only the stone ruins belong to Cambodia while surrounding areas belong to Thailand.
The
areas have not been demarcated yet but the two countries signed a
memorandum of understanding in 2000 to set up a joint mechanism to try
to settle the dispute.
The PAD, which has staged a rally near the
Prime Minister Office, wants Abhisit to use force to remove Cambodians
from the disputed area and scrap the 2000 MOU on land boundary
demarcation. They have pressured the government by vowing to stay until
their demands are met.
Cambodia, meanwhile, is reported to have
boosted troops in the area, notably near Preah Vihear. Thai news teams
have said the border areas are tense while outlets in Phnom Penh have
reported that the Cambodian military is ready for war with Thailand.
Abhisit
insisted he would settle the border dispute with Cambodia by peaceful
means. The 2000 MOU was an effective instrument for settling the border
dispute, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who
oversees security matters, said the Thai military was strong enough to
protect the country but would not boost forces in the area near the
historic temple.
The government would continue to negotiate with Cambodia over the border issue, he said.
“Please
do not provoke any news to create tension with our neighbouring
country. We have to live with them peacefully,” Suthep said when asked
about Cambodian troops along the border.
“We don’t have any problem with Cambodia and our two governments have no problem,” he said.
Asked
if the government in Phnom Penh criticised Thailand every day, Suthep
said, “don’t look only at one side. If you are in Cambodia, you would
see a group of Thai people scolding Cambodia every day.” 
The Nation 
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Categories: Local News
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