Home > Local News > Clashes Resume on Thai-Cambodia Border

Clashes Resume on Thai-Cambodia Border

BANGKOK—Fighting resumed along the disputed border between Thailand and Cambodia late Sunday, shattering a shaky cease-fire barely a day after
it was struck.
Khem Sovannara/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Cambodian soldiers preparing Sunday to go to Preah Vihear temple, near the disputed territory
The
fiercest border clashes in years erupted Friday and Saturday between
troops stationed along the frontier. Sporadic artillery fire left at
least five people dead—one civilian and one soldier from Thailand and
one civilian and two soldiers from Cambodia.
Sovannara/Xinhua/Zuma Press Villagers being evacuated Saturday from the border area
Soldiers deployed on the Cambodian side of the disputed border said fighting had resumed late Sunday. A Cambodian
soldier, Lt. Pen Song, said troops exchanged artillery and mortar fire
along the Phnom Troap mountain range, about three kilometers from the
historic Preah Vihear temple, a United Nations World Heritage Site that
belongs to Cambodia under a 1962 World Court ruling disputed by many Thais.
A Thai official in the border area, Nakorn Siripanyanant, confirmed that clashes had resumed Sunday evening and said some villagers who had returned to their homes were again evacuated. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.
The
renewed fighting started just hours after commanders stationed on both
sides of the border met Sunday afternoon and said they would continue
to respect a Saturday cease-fire and pledged not to deploy more troops
to the area.
Both sides have blamed each other for the fighting, which also caused minor damage to the landmark temple.
Earlier
Sunday, Thailand’s prime minister called for a peaceful solution to the
border dispute but warned Thai soldiers will defend national
sovereignty if attacked.

I insist that the dispute on the border issues must be solved through
nonviolent means,” Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajvia said in his
weekly Sunday morning address to the nation. “ Thailand never thought
of invading anyone, but if our sovereignty is violated, we have to
protect it ultimately.”
Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said at least 3,000 people have fled their homes since the fighting erupted on Friday, while Cambodian authorities said about 1,000 families were evacuated on their side.
Tensions between the Southeast Asian
nations have risen in recent days because of demonstrations in the Thai
capital, Bangkok, demanding that the government oust Cambodians from
land near the Preah Vihear temple. Thai nationalists claim the land is
actually part of Thailand.
The
Thai demonstrators call themselves the People’s Alliance for Democracy,
the same group that in 2008 occupied the Thai prime minister’s offices
and Bangkok’s two airports in a bid to force out two previous
governments. They called Saturday night
for Mr. Abhisit and his cabinet to step down, saying they had failed to
safeguard the country’s sovereignty. Several thousand attended the
protest, a much smaller turnout than antigovernment rallies in the past.
The rally by the PAD—also known as the Yellow Shirts—has
raised tensions in a country still recovering from political violence
last year in which about 90 people died. Those protests were launched
by a rival antigovernment group, known as the RedShirts.
While a full-blown war is unlikely, nationalist passions are inflamed in both countries with no clear
way to settle the longstanding territorial dispute surrounding the
temple, built during a time when Cambodia’s Khmer empire ruled over
much of Thailand.
ASIA NEWS
 
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Categories: Local News
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