Home > Local News > Thai-Cambodia border clashes RAGE unabated

Thai-Cambodia border clashes RAGE unabated

Cambodian villagers carry their belongings as they flee the area near
the 11th-century Preah Vihear Temple at the border with Thailand and on
Monday. Thai and Cambodian troops have clashed for a fourth straight
day over a disputed border area surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu temple
as Cambodia urged the UN to intervene.
Thai and
Cambodian troops clashed for a fourth straight day on Monday over a
disputed border area surrounding a 900-year-old mountaintop temple,
deepening political uncertainty in Bangkok and prompting Cambodia to
urge UN intervention.
 
 Several
hours of shelling and machine gun fire subsided at around 11 a.m. (0400
GMT), creating an uneasy peace in the 4.6-square-kilometer
(two-square-mile) contested area around the 11th-century Preah Vihear
temple claimed by both Southeast Asian neighbors.

Both
sides blame the other for sparking clashes that have killed at least
two Thais and three Cambodians since Friday and unleashed nationalist
passions in Bangkok, energizing “yellow shirt” protesters demanding
Thailand’s government step down.

Reasons
behind the fighting remain murky. Some analysts reckon hawkish Thai
generals and nationalist allies may be trying to topple Thailand’s
government or even create a pretext to stage another coup and cancel
elections expected this year.

Others
say it may be a simple breakdown in communication channels at a time of
strained relations over Cambodia’s flying of a national flag in the
disputed area and laying of a stone tablet inscribed with “This is
Cambodia.”

In Phum Saron, an
evacuated village in Thailand’s Si Sa Ket province where Cambodian
artillery struck several homes and a school on Sunday, Thai soldiers
guarded buildings and said it was unclear if more fighting loomed.

The Thai government said 30 Thai soldiers and 4 villagers had been wounded so far. Cambodia says 10 of its troops were wounded.

Cambodian
Prime Minister Hun Sen called on the UN Security Council to convene an
urgent meeting, accusing Thailand of “repeated acts of aggression” that
have killed Cambodians and caused a wing of the temple to collapse.

In
a speech in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, Hun Sen directly
addressed his Thai counterpart. “We will go to the UN Security Council
whether you like it or not,” he said during a university graduation
ceremony, calling on the United Nations to deploy peacekeeping troops
to the area. “The armed clash is threatening regional security.”

Thai
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wrote to the Security Council accusing
Cambodia of starting the fighting by opening fire at a Thai military
post at Phat Ma Khua village on Friday, and again in the same area on
Sunday.

“Thai soldiers had no choice but to exercise the inherent right of self defense,” Abhisit said.

UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement he was “deeply
concerned” and urged both sides to cease fire and find a “lasting
solution” to the dispute, echoing a similar statement from Washington
over the weekend.

Inflaming Thai nationalists

The
dispute threatens to worsen long-running hostility between Thai
political factions ahead of the expected general election this year.

Thailand’s
national police chief said he would seek cabinet approval today to
impose the Internal Security Act this week to give the military powers
to prevent protesters from occupying government buildings in Bangkok in
a planned protest on Friday. The “yellow shirts”, who helped to bring
Abhisit to power, have turned against him in recent weeks, calling for
him to take a tougher line against Cambodia.  In 2008, they occupied
state offices for three months and blockaded Bangkok’s main airport
until a court expelled a government allied with former Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra, a step that paved the way for Abhisit to take power.

”I
don’t think this will look good for Abhisit’s government, especially as
we are heading towards elections,” said Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a
fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

Thousands
have fled villages on the Thai side and hundreds of Cambodians have
been evacuated. The clashes pushed down shares in Thai firms which have
businesses in Cambodia, led by a 1.8 percent loss in satellite firm
Thaicom , with its telecom service in Cambodia contributing 10 percent
of revenue, said broker Capital Nomura Securities.
Source: Todays Zaman
Advertisements
Categories: Local News
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: