News / Asia

Thai-Cambodia Border Decision Risks Renewing Nationalist Protests

Thai-Cambodia Border Decision Risks Renewing Nationalist Protests i
X
June 26, 2013 5:44 PM
The United Nation's top court is expected to rule later this year on Cambodia's request to determine ownership of disputed territory on its border with Thailand. The International Court of Justice in the 1960s declared an ancient temple around the border to be Cambodia's but did not decide on land around the temple. A clear ruling on the land risks renewing tensions between the neighbors that, in recent years, has led to deadly military clashes. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Bangkok.
Daniel Schearf
The United Nations top court is expected to rule later this year on Cambodia's request to determine ownership of disputed territory on its border with Thailand. The International Court of Justice in the 1960s declared an ancient temple around the border to be Cambodia's but did not decide on land around the temple. A clear ruling on the land risks renewing tensions between the neighbors that, in recent years, has led to deadly military clashes. 
 
Thai nationalists two years ago demanded the United Nations cultural office de-list a Cambodian temple as a World Heritage site.
 
They view the recognition as a loss of Thai sovereignty stemming from a 1962 decision by a top U.N. court.
 
The International Court of Justice ruled on the ownership of the temple but, until this year, refused to decide who owns the land around it.
 
At Bangkok's Institute of Security and International Studies, Thitinan Pongsudhirak says it would be best if the court left ownership ambiguous.
 
"I'm hoping that this time we will see a similar ambiguity which forces Cambodian government and Thai government to sit down and work things out.  Because now we have two governments that seem to be able to talk," he said. 
 
Tensions over the issue led to sporadic clashes along the border that killed 20-some people and sent tens of thousands of villagers fleeing for safety.
 
The 900-year-old Khmer Hindu temple, called Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Phra Viharn in Thailand, was damaged in the fighting.
 
The border dispute was fueled by opponents of exiled former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, says political analyst Thitinan.
 
"Politicization of the temple listing has been a function of domestic Thai politics.  At the same time, the Cambodian side, Prime Minister Hun Sen, also did not help by taking sides in this division in Thailand, by taking the side of Thaksin Shinawatra," he said. 
 
Indonesia sought to mediate the dispute, but the Thai military refused to allow monitors on the border.
 
Nonetheless, relations improved after Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was elected prime minister and the Thai army became more hesitant, says political analyst Thitinan.
 
"There are no backing, direct backing, from other sources to agitate, to aggravate, stimulate the army to go on the march again. So, much more conducive than 2011 for the Thai army to abide by whatever decision that comes out of ICJ," he said. 
 
Regardless of the court's decision, locals who live along the border want peace to prevail over politics so life and trade can continue as normal.  

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nouan Anh from: Patabang
June 26, 2013 4:25 PM
We need the land and the temple, we ready to fight for it.
In Response

by: Sareth from: Phnom Penh
June 27, 2013 12:44 AM
All of these are belong Cambodia. I no need to fight...

by: Chouang from: Thailand
June 26, 2013 4:23 PM
The better way, bring gun and fight again, the winner is the best.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More