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Cambodian soldiers to join peacekeeping exercise in Thailand amid border row

June 17, 2011 Leave a comment
Cambodia on Thursday afternoon sent a
group of 47 armed forces to Thailand to join the Ayara Guardian 2011, a
multi-national peace-keeping exercise, which runs from June 13 to July
1.

Speaking during a see-off ceremony at the Phnom Penh
International Airport, Prak Sokhon, Secretary of State for the Council
of Ministers and chairman of the National Coordination Committee of the
United Nations Peacekeeping Operation, said that the exercise would be a
good chance for Cambodian troops to learn from senior military trainers
from the United States, Indonesia, and the United Nations.

“Our participation in international exercises is to strengthen our
military capacity and to keep up with the evolution of military skills
from other countries,” he said.

The dispatch of the troops to
Thailand occurred at a time when Cambodian and Thailand troops are
still confronting over the border dispute.

“The peacekeeping
exercise in Thailand is for humanitarian activities only under the
umbrella of the United Nations, not relevant to the border issue,” said
Prak Sokhon.

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

Since then, both sides have
built up military forces along the border and periodic clashes have
happened, resulting in the deaths of troops and civilians on both sides.

Source:Xinhua

Categories: Local News

Thai PM says Cambodian spy escapes

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
BANGKOK, June 16 – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on
Thursday said he has received a report that a Cambodian spy has escaped
and that the incident confirmed that Thailand did not fabricate the spy
case.

Three suspects on spying charges –Thai, Cambodian, and Vietnamese
nationals– were arrested in Si Sa Ket’s Kantaralak district on
suspicion of spying on Thai military facilities.

Mr Abhisit said he could confirm that the one who has escaped was a Cambodian military officer but his rank remains unknown.

He also denied Cambodia’s accusation that Thailand fabricated the spy
case, saying the country did not arrest innocent people as the
investigation found evidence that implicated them.

Thailand will in consequence present the information to the international community, the prime minister said.

Also Read: 

Suchart Muhammad, a 32-year-old Thai, Ung Kimtai, a 43-year-old
Cambodian and Nguyen Tengyang, 37, a Vietnamese, were arrested ten days
ago at a Thai border village in the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket
for alleged spying on Thai military facilities and bunkers built to
shelter Thai villagers in the event of cross-border attacks or shelling.

The Cambodian Foreign Ministry said in its statement released Friday
that it “categorically rejects this deceitful fabrication by the Thai
authorities and prime minister, intending to mislead the public and
malign Cambodia”, adding it had no need to spy on Thailand.

“The Royal Government of Cambodia wishes to assert that the above
fabrication is only a pretext to justify future aggression against
Cambodia,” the Agence France Press news agency quoted the statement as
saying. (MCOT online news)

Categories: Local News

Protest turns violent

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Photo by: Heng Chivoan
A protest allegedly turned violent outside Kampong Speu provincial court
yesterday after security guards confronted about 1,000 garment workers,
who were demanding the release of an arrested union representative.

Free
Trade Union representative Sun Pisey was arrested last Friday after
allegedly scarring fellow Sang Vo garment factory employee Soem Voleak
during a scuffle.

Sang Vo workers, who protested outside the
court for a second day yesterday, said Sun Pisey was advocating the
benefits of joining the union when Soem Voleak attacked him and was
arrested because of his union affiliations.

Protestor Man Thavy
claimed yesterday that security guards from Sang Vo hit her across the
head with sticks as they confronted demonstrators. “I lodged a complaint
to … [the] district police chief to hunt for justice,” she said.

Meng
Sokha, chief of administration at Sang Vo, denied yesterday that
company security guards had interfered with the protest. “The factory
does not fine, punish or remove union representatives from the factory’s
[books],” he said.

Mich Sophorn, chief of the crimes department at the district police, said yesterday that he would investigate the allegations.

FTU
president Chea Mony yesterday condemned the alleged violence and
requested that the government take action against the factory.

Provincial chief prosecutor Khut Sopheang could not be reached for comment by The Post yesterday.

Categories: Local News

Democrats wrong from the start on Preah Vihear

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment

It seems no political parties, other than Suwit Khunkitti’s Social
Action Party, want to follow Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s call
last week for clear positions on the conflict with Cambodia over the
Hindu temple of Preah Vihear. They don’t want to take the political risk
of losing the battle.

Abhisit and his Democrat Party have taken a clear – but wrong – stance on the issue from the beginning.
Indeed,
the party has been mistaken on the issue since it was in opposition. In
2008, it tagged along with the nationalist People’s Alliance for
Democracy (PAD) to exploit crude nationalism over Preah Vihear and
attack the governments of Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat.
After
Samak’s government supported Cambodia in listing the temple as a World
Heritage Site, the Democrats and the PAD accused Samak and his foreign
minister Noppadon Pattama of losing Thai territory and the chance to
reclaim Preah Vihear.
Abhisit made the accusation based on a
misinterpretation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s 1962
ruling on the Preah Vihear case. The court ruled the temple “was
situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia”.
Abhisit
– as he argued in Parliament during a censure motion against Noppadon
in June 2008 – said the ICJ ruled only on the ruined sandstone temple,
while the territory on which it stood belonged to Thailand. Thus, for
Abhisit, any Cambodian activities in the area were violations of Thai
sovereignty.
Abhisit’s interpretation contradicted Thailand’s own
consistent stance since 1962, when a Thai Cabinet decision unilaterally
set the boundary at Preah Vihear to comply with the ICJ ruling.
In
fact, during the military-backed government under General Surayud
Chulanont and later under the elected governments of Samak and Somchai,
Thailand used the Cabinet-drawn line in dealing with Cambodia’s proposal
to list the temple.
Thailand’s legal team also used it in making
their argument in the recent ICJ trial, after Cambodia asked the court
to clarify the 1962 judgement and to instigate provisional measures to
have Thai troops withdraw from the disputed area.
Cambodia has
agreed, at least for now, to use that line as the Preah Vihear boundary
in its proposal for the temple’s listing and management. The land that
is disputed is not included in the management plan, but that did not
stop Abhisit from blocking Phnom Penh’s plan to run the temple as a
World Heritage Site. The premier accused Cambodia of taking Thai
territory as a buffer zone around Preah Vihear and asked the World
Heritage Committee to suspend its management plan.
Abhisit will
send Suwit, his minister of natural resources and the environment, to
derail Cambodia’s plans at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Paris
next week.
The move cornered Cambodia and offered Phnom Penh no
option but to bring the case back to the ICJ for a clarification of the
scope and meaning of the 1962 judgement. The court is currently
considering Cambodia’s request for a ban on Thai military activities at
the disputed area.
The decisions of both organisations are likely to be delivered around the same time, perhaps shortly after the Thai election.
Abhisit
called for other parties to make their stances clear in order to
relieve the political pressure mounting on him. In case Thailand loses
the court battle, Abhisit needs someone in the same boat- as well as
someone with a different stance to shift the blame to.

The Nation
Categories: Local News

COMMENTARY: The Big Lie Tactic of the Thai Government May be a Prelude to Renewed Armed Clashes with Cambodia

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
The ill-willed fabrication by the Thai authorities, including the
Thai Prime Minister, concerning the arrest of three people, claimed to
be from Cambodia and one of whom is accused of being a “spy”, is a
groundless allegation aimed at misleading
the public and creating the pretext on which to justify aggression
against Cambodia in the future.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is reported by ASTV Manager
Online and Thai-ASEAN News Network/ TAN (10 June 2011) as saying that
Thailand will file a complaint in this Cambodian spy case to the
International Court of Justice, and inflating the row by saying that the
three arrested are Cambodians.
The Royal Government of Cambodia, on the same day, through statements
by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the spokesperson of the Ministry
of National Defence rejected this baseless accusation by firmly and
clearly stressing that “Cambodia does not have any required necessity to
do what the Thai Prime Minister had exaggerated”.
This spying accusation against Cambodia is made deliberately while
Cambodia and Thailand are awaiting the interpretation of the 1962
Judgment of International Court of Justice, following the application by
Cambodia, together with a request for provisional measures to prevent
the Thai government from invading Cambodia and to withdraw its armed
forces unconditionally from Cambodian territory in the vicinity of the
Temple of Preah Vihear.
After returning from the International Court of Justice in the Hague,
on 2 June 2011, H.E. Hor Namhong, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, said that
Thai could attack Cambodia again at any time. This statement is a
message to inform the national and international public of the Thai’s
provocative design to invade Cambodia using its mysterious, secret,
unilaterally-drawn and not internationally recognized-map.
Clear aggression against Cambodian territorial sovereignty by
Thailand has occurred repeatedly. Furthermore, the present Thai’s
caretaker government issued a warning that “Thailand will reject any
injunctions by the International Court of Justice for the withdrawal of
its troops from the disputed border with Cambodia”.
According to the Statement of Cambodia’s Ministry of National Defense
of 3 June 2011, from 31 May to 3 June 2011, Thais had used an L-19
plane and a paraglider to spy on and heedlessly violate Cambodia’s
airspace along the border in the region of Thmor Pouk, and O Chrov of
Oddar Meanchey Province and Phnom Preuk district of Battambang Province.
These are deemed as provocations and a prelude to renewed armed
clashes, in which the Thai government has to bear responsibility in the
present and the future.
With bravado deemed a threat of war against Cambodia, Gen. Prawit
Wongsuwan, Thailand’s Defence Minister, is quoted in the Bangkok Post (5
June 2011) as saying that “Although ICJ asks Thailand to withdraw its
troops, it will not withdraw”.
This statement is in line with the foreign article which reads that “Thai could become the big brother of ASEAN”.
Mr. Supalak Ganjanakhundee, writer of The Nation Newspaper, in his
article published on 8 June 2011 under the title “Thailand cannot duck
World Court Verdict” puts forward the truth when he states that “The
possibilities for Thailand to defy an injunction or a verdict by the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the Preah Vihear case is very
low as the Court – the top judicial body of the United Nations – has
many instruments and tools to enforce its ruling.”
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and other senior Thai leaders have
often been known to blame journalists for misquoting, as happened in
this case when, according to the Post Today (8 June 2011), Gen. Prawit
Wongsuwan stated that “I did not say such a thing and this has been
interpreted by the journalists themselves”. It is unfair and a pity for
Thai journalists that their country’s leaders would twist what they have
said and put such blame on the others.
Threatening to use all means, military and diplomatic against
Cambodia, Thailand has since 2008 declared that Cambodia must leave the
4.6 sq km. and this accompanied by frequent shelling into Cambodian
territory has occurred. These acts of aggression normally take place
after the sabre-rattling warnings by the Thai leaders. It is widely
remembered that on 27 January 2011, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit
Vejjajiva announced that “the use of force will be the last resort……
Thai government is not afraid of war with Cambodia”.
Now similar utterances have been heard again by the followers of Thai
Prime Minister Abhisit’s. General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, Commander-In-Chief
of the Thai army, was quoted by the Bangkok Post on 9 June 2011 as
saying that “military measure or the use of force will also be resorted
to in order to protect Thailand’s territory.” In truth, it is not for
the protection of their territory but for the capture of Cambodian
territory based on its mysterious, secret, unilaterally-drawn and not
internationally recognized-map.
In contrast, the Royal Government of Cambodia’s efforts in addressing
the border dispute with Thailand have been legitimately made and are
based on the internationally-recognized Annex I (Dangrek) map. Moreover,
Cambodia firmly adheres to her stance that Cambodia has never accepted
any so-called overlapping 4.6-sq km. That area is de jure under
Cambodia’s sovereinty.
The Thai military’s aggressive attack towards Cambodia can be seen as
in support of two strategies of the leaders of Thai government. First,
to promote ultra-nationalism and territorial ambition based on
Thailand’s unilaterally-drawn and mysterious map, along the lines of the
acts of Fascist Hitler and dictatorial Mussolini of Italy during the
World War II period. Second, this act of aggression is wielded as part
of Thailand’s internal political crisis resulting from the
September-2006 coup to oust elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Some think that caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit may even hold Cambodia
hostage for his political purpose when realising what will be the result
of the upcoming election in Thailand. According to a survey, the Puea
Thai Party is leading, so Mr. Abhisit may seek a pretext to wage war
against Cambodia before or after the election so as to prolong his grip
on power and keep the Puea Thai Party out of government.
To pursue his ill intentions, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will
be not reluctant to invent new problems to put the blame on Cambodia. It
is noted that in the lead-up to World Heritage Committee meeting, the
Thai government has always created many new problems (particularly the
military issues) for which blame and oppose Cambodia, in order to
complicate the work of the World Heritage Committee and UNESCO as well
as to block the involvement of the international community.
In addition, the Thai government has, on seven occasions, refused to
accept the Terms of Reference for dispatching Indonesian observers to
the disputed border area, seemingly showing that Thailand intends to
grab this opportunity to renew war. However, many times already have the
caretaker government’s tricks been unmasked by the international
community, causing the diplomatic failure of the Thai government. 
One
such trick is the denial that Thai forces fired 414 artillery shells at
the Temple of Preah Vihear, by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, while
Mr. Suwit Khunkitti, Thai Minister for Natural Resources and
Environment, proudly told the meeting of the World Heritage Committee
that the Temple of Preah Vihear did not suffer damage. This is a bold
lie. Thailand is a big country that has aggressively violated Cambodia’s
territory, but Thailand has instead accused Cambodia of being an
aggressor.
Even though the Cambodia’s Temple of Preah Vihear was already
inscribed on the World Heritage List in Quebec, Canada in 2008, the Thai
Prime Minister and a number of Thai senior officials have continued to
complain about the inscription and have demanded a joint-inscription of
the Temple with Cambodia, despite the fact that Thailand is the
aggressor and the destroyer of the Temple of Preah Vihear. Witnessed by
the Chair of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil, the leader
of theThai delegation signed an agreement with Cambodia to accept the
Management and Development Plan for the Preah Vihear Temple area to be
considered in the upcoming 35th Session of the World Heritage Committee,
to be held in France in late June. The Thai side has fabricated false
reports about that fact.
The Thai government should reconsider and change its attitude since
respecting international laws is the most important foundation to ensure
regional and global peace, and it is binding for Thailand.
The recent announcement of resorting to military means as Thai
goverment’s last option to resolve the border dispute with Cambodia and
the accusation of espionage against Cambodian citizen prove that this
caretaker government has been misleading public opinion and creating
many problems linked to Cambodia. Moreover, these actions could prove
that the Abhisit government only adheres to the policy of waging bloody
war and using tricks to invade Cambodia in order to retain its power.
However, the violation of international goodwill by Thailand could not
be whitewashed to conceal it from the international community.
Phnom Penh 15 June 2011
Press and Quick Reaction Unit
Categories: Local News

Let courts decide on ‘spy’: PM

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Prime Minister Hun Sen arrives at the University of Health Sciences for a
speech, in which he criticised Thai officials, yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prime Minister Hun Sen lashed out yesterday at the Thai leadership over
allegations that a Cambodian arrested in Thailand last week was a spy,
saying their rhetoric had shown disregard for judicial procedure.

Speaking
at a graduation ceremony of medical students in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen
said Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his foreign Minister,
Kasit Piromya, had repeated the claims against Ung Kimthai – a Cambodian
national arrested last week on suspicion of espionage.

“As long
as the court has not proceeded with its work, the person remains
innocent. The court has not yet worked on the case – why have you said
my people are guilty?” Hun Sen argued. “You are stupid, don’t do it.”

Ung
Kimthai, 46, was apprehended by Thai authorities on Tuesday last week
in Sisaket province, along with nationals from Vietnam and Thailand, on
allegations of espionage.

Allegations have also been raised against the Thai national for drunk driving and Ung Kimthai for drug use.

Hun
Sen also claimed yesterday that Kasit had expressed desire for a
prisoner exchange that could allow the return of two Thai activists who
are currently serving time at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh for spying,
crossing illegally into Cambodia and entering into a military zone.

The premier dismissed talks of such a deal. “There is not any exchange,” Hun Sen said.

“Let the court do its work first – do you respect the independence of the court? You abused the court procedure.”

Thai
Patriot Network coordinator Veera Somkwamkid and his secretary, Ratree
Pipattanapaiboon, were sentenced to eight and six years, respectively,
in February.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said
yesterday that any questions about a possible prisoner exchange “assume
that the case reaches the court”.

He said Thai officials were concentrating on the preliminary stages of the legal process.

“After
the case is concluded by the police, they will forward it to the state
attorney and he will decide whether the case will be forwarded to the
court,” Panitan said. “The legal process has to be done first.”

He
mentioned, however, that there was a bilateral agreement in existance
between Thailand and Cambodia governing prisoner exchanges in cases that
are “similar”.

Panitan also said there had been an “ongoing
process of exchanging some of the prisoners in the past year or two”,
though he could not provide further detail.

 
Categories: Local News

Suwit set for talks with Phnom Penh

June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit
Khunkitti will hold an informal meeting with Cambodia tomorrow and on
Saturday to try and reach an agreement on the Preah Vihear management
plan.
Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the parties would try
to settle the dispute ahead of a 10-day World Heritage Committee (WHC)
meeting from Sunday in Paris that will consider the management plan for
the ancient temple proposed by Cambodia.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday held a meeting of the
national world heritage committee to discuss guidelines on the Preah
Vihear issue, Mr Panitan said. Mr Abhisit instructed the panel to think
of the national interest and keep the country from losing its
sovereignty and territory.
Mr Suwit yesterday said Thailand had a clear stance on the Preah
Vihear issue. It wants the WHC to postpone consideration of the
management plan for areas surrounding the World Heritage-listed site
until border demarcation work is completed.
He said he was unsure if the WHC would postpone considering
Cambodia’s insistence on its right to table the plan for the
4.6-square-kilometre disputed area around the temple.
Mr Suwit said Thailand would offer to host the next WHC meeting in Phuket.
He said claims by Cambodia that Prime Minister Abhisit had asked it
to withdraw Preah Vihear from the world heritage listing were untrue.
He said the Foreign Ministry would send a letter explaining the matter to Cambodian authorities.
The national world heritage committee will meet today to discuss prerequisites for the WHC meeting, Mr Suwit said.
He said other Unesco member countries would have a better
understanding about Thailand’s position on the plan after Thai
representatives had the opportunity to explain the matter.
Mr Abhisit also said that each side should respect the laws of the
other and avoid doing anything that could affect relations. He was
referring to reports Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened to
arrest Thai officials that encroach on its soil and charge them with
spying, as Thailand has done.
Categories: Local News, Politic