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

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    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.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora