Home > Local News > Interview: Cambodia, Thai border row harms ASEAN security community efforts

Interview: Cambodia, Thai border row harms ASEAN security community efforts

Cambodian and Thai border row near the
11th century Preah Vihear temple could harm the efforts of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) toward a community by
2015, said analysts here on Saturday.

“ASEAN will be difficult
to achieve its security community by 2015 if it cannot mediate to
resolve the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand,” Chheang Vannarith,
executive director of Cambodian Institute of Cooperation and Peace,
said in an interview with Xinhua on Saturday.

ASEAN will have communities including economic, security, and socio-cultural ones.

“By 2015, I believe that it can achieve only the economic community and social and cultural community,” he said.

However, he said that it depends on ASEAN itself if it will create any new mechanism to resolve dispute or not.

The
ASEAN’s foreign ministers will hold a meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia on
Feb. 22 to discuss the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.

“Now
we wait and see the result of the upcoming meeting,” he said.”It can be
a turning-point for ASEAN if it decides to establish an effective
mechanism of dispute resolution for its members.”

The dispute between Cambodia and Thailand is the first time that ASEAN meets, so it can be an experiment for ASEAN.

“If ASEAN has no any resolution or measure on this dispute, the ASEAN’s security community will be worthless,” he said.

Cambodia
is expected to ask Thailand to sign a permanent ceasefire under the
witness of ASEAN chair or representative during the ASEAN foreign
ministers’meeting, and it will also ask ASEAN observers to come to the
disputed areas to ensure the permanent cease-fire.

Sok Touch,
deputy director general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s
International Relations Institute, said that Cambodia’ s suggestions
will be failed.

“It will not be successful, I guest. Currently,
Thailand increases its military forces in order to put pressure on
Cambodia to return to bilateral negotiation table,” he said.

“Thai
government uses the issue of Preah Vihear temple to treat its internal
conflict,” he said. “Also, Thai’s war against Cambodia is for
budget–when there is war, Thai government led by Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva, will be able to withdraw budget from its national
coffer easily and legally.”

“Another reason, Abhisit uses the war against Cambodia as his excuse to postpone the election in Thailand,” he added.

Cambodia
and Thailand have had border conflict just a week after Cambodia’s
Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

The
conflict is due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6
sq km) of scrub next to the temple, triggering a military build-up
along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai
soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

The
latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, unleashed a barrage of artillery shells on
both sides of the border, had killed and wounded some soldiers and
citizens of both sides, and also caused tens of thousands of the two
countries’villagers nearby the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.

The
United Nations Security Council on Monday urged Cambodia and Thailand
to display maximum restraint and to establish a permanent ceasefire. It
also expressed support for the active efforts of ASEAN in the matter
and encouraged the parties to continue to cooperate with the
organization.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: Xinhua
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Categories: Local News
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