News / Asia

Thailand, Cambodia Agree to Indonesian Observers at Border

Thai women and children walk to a waiting bus to transport them home after sporadic fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops was reported at a refugee camp in Surin province, northeastern Thailand, May 2, 2011
Thai women and children walk to a waiting bus to transport them home after sporadic fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops was reported at a refugee camp in Surin province, northeastern Thailand, May 2, 2011
Brian Padden

Ahead of a regional summit, Indonesia's foreign minister has said Thailand and Cambodia agreed to allow Indonesian monitors to go to the border between the two countries to help prevent further military clashes.

In his role as the chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Friday said there has been a breakthrough in ASEAN's efforts to mediate an end to the Thai-Cambodia border conflict.

"I can report to all of you that the two sides have agreed to the terms of reference for the observer team, the Indonesian observer team that we have been discussing for several weeks now," said Natalegawa.  "That is a done thing in the sense that the negotiations have been concluded.  Cambodia has formally acceded or formally agreed to the terms of reference.  Thailand has also agreed to it but they are yet to fully conclude the formal exchange of documents."

The terms of reference include how many Indonesian observers will be dispatched and the specific areas along the border where they will operate.

Since February, more than 20 people have died in repeated clashes between the two ASEAN members along their disputed border. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes on both sides of the border.

The heart of the disagreement is a 900-year-old Hindu Khmer temple known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Prah Viharn in Thailand.  The temple sits in Cambodia, but Thailand claims adjacent land that includes a key access route to the complex.  The countries have fought sporadically over the border since 2008.

Natalegawa met with foreign ministers of the other ASEAN nations Friday. On Saturday, ASEAN national leaders begin a two-day summit in Jakarta.

The Indonesian foreign minister says talks Friday included the question of Burma's request to take over the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014.  Human Rights Watch objects to the idea of Burma (also called Myanmar) leading the association, given it says, the country's long record of human rights abuses and its lack of democratic development.

While the ASEAN heads of states will decide if Burma's bid is accepted, Natalegawa said some concerns were expressed at the ministerial level.

"The state of readiness of Myanmar to chair ASEAN in 2014, which is quite a critical year for ASEAN, on the eve of its community in 2015, the state of readiness extends beyond practical arrangements readiness but also other dimensions that we need to ascertain ourselves," added Natalegawa.

Burma passed up its chance to take the rotating chairmanship in 2005, after the United States and European Union threatened to boycott ASEAN events if Burma's government was at the helm.

Natalegawa says the foreign ministers also addressed the issue of the South China Sea where China and some ASEAN countries have competing claims to small islands and areas believed to be rich in oil. He says ASEAN and China are continuing to work together to develop a declaration of conduct to help resolve disputes.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs