News / Asia

International Court to Rule on Thai-Cambodia Temple Dispute Soon

FILE - A Cambodian temple security guard stands at Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia.
FILE - A Cambodian temple security guard stands at Preah Vihear temple, Cambodia.
The prime ministers of Cambodia and Thailand are vowing to comply with an international court verdict regarding a small chunk of disputed territory along their shared border. Nevertheless, analysts in both countries are expressing concerns that Monday's legal decision has the potential to provoke violence.
 
Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, explained to the Cambodian people that he and his Thai counterpart, Yingluck Shinawatra, have agreed in advance to comply with the decision by the International Court of Justice and maintain peace and stability along the disputed border.
 
The prime minister also implored Cambodia’s armed forces to fulfill their duty to protect the border in the name of peace and avoid any action that could lead to further tension or clashes.
 
The ICJ will announce its verdict on Monday of which country should get the land surrounding an ancient Hindu temple. The court, in The Hague, awarded the Preah Vihear temple site to Cambodia in 1962.
 
The Khmer kingdom temple in 2008 was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
 
As recently as two years ago, Cambodia and Thailand exchanged artillery fire along the border. Clashes that year killed dozens of people and forced tens of thousands to flee nearby villages.
 
In Thailand, Chulalongkorn University associate professor Panitan Wattanayagorn is among those worried about the ramifications of the verdict.
 
“If one country gains it will mean one country loses... We may see more complications or even more violence within the countries or between the two countries,” said Wattanayagorn.
 
Another Thai academic, Thammasat University professor Chanvit Kasetsiri, explained that the verdict could quickly become a rallying cry for the demonstrators who have been on the streets of Bangkok in recent days concerning a controversial amnesty bill.
 
“It’s very difficult to separate the Preah Vihear issue from domestic politics of Thailand, because in the past few years many rallies and demonstrations exploit the nationalistic sentiment among the people concerning loss of territory to Cambodia,” said Kasetsiri.
 
An independent Cambodian analyst, Lao Monghay, expressed hopes that his compatriots will accept the verdict in a mature manner should it be perceived as a loss.
 
The political analyst cautioned that an escalated dispute with Thailand would likely cause hardship for the hundreds of thousands of Cambodians who cross back and forth across the border to work.
 
Monghay hopes a calm outcome can lead to the two countries also resolving their disputed maritime border; the nearby waters are rich in natural resources.
 
The territorial dispute originated in the early years of the 20th century, when Cambodia was part of French Indochina. In its 1962 decision, the ICJ referenced agreements between the French and Siam (as Thailand was internationally known until 1939) that awarded the temple itself to Cambodia but left unresolved the ownership of 460 hectares of land surrounding the sacred site.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy 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