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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs