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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora