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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid