Home > Local News > No need for border meeting in third country: Defence Minister

No need for border meeting in third country: Defence Minister

BANGKOK, March 29 – Thai Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan on
Monday stood firm that there is no need for the Thai-Cambodian Joint
Boundary Commission (JBC) to meet in a third country, emphasising that
the border conflict is a bilateral issue between the two neighbours.



The Thai defence minister expressed his stance following reports that
his Cambodian counterpart Gen Tea Banh said the upcoming JBC meeting
will be held in Indonesia, which is the current chair of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).



Gen Prawit said the Cambodian defence minister has not yet talked to
him about the matter but said the two countries have no need for the
border meeting to take place in a third country as the dispute can be
solved at the bilateral level.



“I look at the overall situation, the people of the two countries can
still cross the border normally and border trade is still business as
usual with no border closure,” Gen Prawit said. “Thais can cross the
border to Cambodia while the Cambodians can also visit Thailand. So why
can’t we hold the meeting in the two countries?”



Tension along the Thai-Cambodian border was renewed after clashes
between soldiers of the two countries erupted near the ancient Preah
Vihear temple on Feb 4, leading to casualties among the troops and
civilians from both sides, as well as forcing the evacuation of
villagers living on both sides of the disputed area.


The JBC meeting was scheduled to be held in Thailand in February but was deferred after the deadly clashes.



Meanwhile, key leaders of the ‘Yellow Shirt’ People’s Alliance for
Democracy (PAD) on Monday submitted a letter to lawmakers at the Thai
Parliament to oppose the possible approval of the minutes of three JBC
meetings scheduled to be considered in the joint sitting of the House
of Representatives and the Senate tomorrow.



PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongphan said the movement decided to lodge a
third complaint letter regarding the three JBC documents. The group
accused Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of distorting information on
the case and of trying to convince the legislators to endorse the
documents.



Mr Panthep however said it was unnecessary for the PAD supporters to
stage rally at Parliament tomorrow, but the group will closely monitor
the joint sitting.



Another Yellow Shirt leader, Prapan Koonmee, said the PAD legal team
will discuss its next move if the minutes of the three JBC meetings are
finally approved by Parliament.



The PAD has opposed parliamentary endorsement of three previous memos
by the JBC, claiming they may end up in the loss of Thai territory
adjacent to the ancient temple. They also demanded revocation of the
MoU signed with Cambodia in 2000.



The International Court of Justice in 1962 ruled that the 11th century
temple belongs to Phnom Penh, and UNESCO named it a World Heritage site
in 2008 after Cambodia applied to register the status. Both countries
claim a 4.6-square-kilometre strip of land adjacent to the cliff-top
temple. 

 
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