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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid