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

Obama Reaffirms Commitment to Ukraine

Following White House meeting with President Poroshenko, US leader offers additional security assistance to Kyiv, stresses support for diplomatic solution in Ukraine’s conflict with Russia More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid