News / Asia

Thailand, Cambodia Step Up Diplomatic Efforts

A Cambodian soldier walks past armored vehicles during the National Assembly members' visit to troops in a military base near the Preah Vhear temple in Preah Vihear province, some 500 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, February 9, 2011
A Cambodian soldier walks past armored vehicles during the National Assembly members' visit to troops in a military base near the Preah Vhear temple in Preah Vihear province, some 500 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, February 9, 2011

Thailand and Cambodia are stepping up diplomatic efforts to prevent more fighting along their border. But the two countries accuse each other of using banned weapons in their battles in the past few days near a 900-year-old Hindu temple.

The two countries exchanged allegations Wednesday, over the use of internationally banned cluster bombs.

The internationally funded Cambodian Mine Action Center says it is investigating the reports of cluster bombs. Cambodia’s military says the artillery was from the Thai side of the border.

Hang Ratana, the CMAC secretary-general, says an investigation team has been sent to Sa'em commune, in Preah Vihear province. A team had been dispatched to brief civilians over the dangers of the bombs, which do not always explode on impact, and remain as land mines, posing a threat long after the conflict is over.

He says CMAC had found remnants of cluster bombs and saw that cluster munitions were spread in some areas. But the military situation has been tense and they will not be able investigate in many areas.

The Thai government denies using cluster bombs.

"The military confirmed to us that we don’t use this weapon. Number two they also discovered those weapons in the area and they concluded that the weapons and are from Cambodia. The cluster shells were discovered in the area shot by the Cambodian side," said Panitan Wattanayagorn, the government spokesman.

Cluster bombs and mines are particularly sensitive issues in Cambodia. Decades of war in the last century left parts of the country littered with such weapons and every year scores of people are injured by unexploded ordnance.

The latest fighting is the most severe since 2008, when tensions rose after the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple received World Heritage status under the United Nations Scientific and Educational Organization.

Fighting flared up last Friday, and has left at least 10 dead and scores wounded, including many civilians. Thousands of villagers on both sides of the border have fled their homes.

Cambodian and Thai troops remain on high alert, with villagers reporting a build up of security forces. But Wednesday there were no reports of new fighting.

The Preah Vihear temple remained close to the public Wednesday. Cambodian officials inspected the Hindu site, which appears to have sustained some damage during the fighting.

UNESCO officials have called for calm and say experts will be sent to assess damage to the temple. But Thailand opposes the UNESCO inspection.

The foreign ministers of both countries are due in New York next week to discuss the situation at the United Nations.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice ruled the Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia, but a major access route lies in about five square kilometers of land that is in Thailand. In June the U.N. Heritage Committee is to meet to decide on a management plan for the temple.

The border dispute has been exacerbated by Thai politics. In late December, Cambodian officials arrested seven Thais, including members of Parliament, who were charged with illegally crossing the border in another disputed area. Two received lengthy prison sentences for spying, but five have been freed.

Thai nationalists demand that their government oust Cambodians from disputed lands and invalidate a memorandum of understanding the two countries signed on resolving border disputes. The government rejects the demands.


You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


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