News / Asia

    Thai-Cambodia Fighting Slows Border Trade, Traffic

    Thai residents evacuate from the Thai-Cambodian border, at Kantharalak in Si Sa Ket province,Thailand, February  7, 2011.
    Thai residents evacuate from the Thai-Cambodian border, at Kantharalak in Si Sa Ket province,Thailand, February 7, 2011.

    Multimedia

    Daniel Schearf

    The Thai-Cambodia border is at an uneasy calm after recent deadly clashes near disputed territory left several people dead and scores injured. Thousands on both sides have fled the area. The fighting led to a dramatic drop in the number of tourists and traders crossing the border. 

    At the Chong Jom market on the Thai-Cambodia border, Cambodian shopkeeper Kaew Yungurn squeezes auto polish onto a rag. He demonstrates his product for a couple journalists and onlookers on a sample piece of a car hood.

    As he works, Kaew says sometimes you have to apply two coats of the white liquid, which cost $6 a bottle. But now he shows how it can repair minor scratches.

    Unfortunately, the normally busy market that brings together Thai and Cambodian traders is almost empty and Kaew has no customers.

    When fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops broke out last Friday, hundreds of shops were abandoned as people fled for safety.

    On Wednesday, most shops remained closed.

    Kaew says he wants both sides to hold talks so he can get back to business as soon as possible.

    At the Chong Sangum immigration checkpoint, the number of people crossing the border has dropped from 50 to fewer than 10 a day.

    Immigration Bureau Deputy Commissioner Pansak Kasemsant says there have been no tourists since Friday.

    He says the number of tourists decreased because of the unclear situation.  But actually, he says, there is no fighting here. The place where the problem occurs is 90 kilometers from this checkpoint.

    The clashes erupted near disputed territory surrounding a 900-year-old Hindu Khmer temple known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Phra Viharn in Thailand.

    Thailand and Cambodia have soldiers stationed near the temple, leading to occasional exchanges of fire.

    The weekend fighting was the worst in years with both sides shooting artillery and machine guns.  

    Several people were killed, scores injured, and thousands of villagers fled the border.

    In 1962, the International Court ruled the temple lies in Cambodia, but a key access point is in Thailand. A dispute over the border near the access point lay dormant for decades, until in 2008, when the United Nations granted the temple World Heritage status, at Cambodia’s request.

    The designation angered some Thai nationalists, and there have been periodic military clashes around the area since then. Disputes over other parts of the border also have flared up.

    In Bangkok, a group of nationalists is holding a protest around the main government offices. They demand that Thailand abandon a memorandum of understanding it signed with Cambodia in 2000 on settling border disputes.

    Despite the tensions, at least one group of Thai visitors on Wednesday crossed into Cambodia.

    Thaveesilp Suvwattana is a history professor at Thailand's Mahasarakham University.

    He is taking his master's degree students to learn about Thailand and Cambodia's shared culture and history.

    "If you want to know about Thai history, [as] part of that you should know about Cambodia, the Khmer, I can say Khmer history, too, because they used to control our land in Thailand, you know, before. And a lot of things, ruins, things, and other things, you know, just come from Khmer culture," he said.

    Thaveesilp says the border dispute is about politics and nationalism with people on both sides interpreting history for their own hidden political agendas.

    He says Thailand and Cambodia should accept the past, move on from historical disputes, and hold talks to build a peaceful future as neighbors.

    Slideshow of Refugees

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora