Friday, November 08, 2013

Cambodian Prime Minister Urges Calm Ahead of Temple Site Ruling

Screenshot courtesy of TVK
RFA, 2013-11-07

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday appealed to military units and villagers situated along the country’s border with Thailand to “remain calm” ahead of a ruling next week by the United Nations’ top court on a long-running territorial dispute over an ancient temple site.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague will decide on Nov. 11 whether Cambodia or Thailand should administer a 4.6-square kilometer (1.8-square mile) tract of land surrounding the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, following a hearing on the case in April.

Hun Sen’s televised statement followed reports of residents expressing concerns over possible fallout from the ruling on the area where the Cambodian and Thai militaries have held sporadic armed clashes since 2008.

Hun Sen said Thursday that he had held talks with his counterpart, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and the two sides agreed to comply with the ICJ’s ruling in order to maintain peace.

“I, along with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the Thai defense minister, have agreed that regardless of the outcome of the ICJ decision on Nov. 11, the two countries must comply with the verdict and work to maintain peace and stability along the border,” Hun Sen said.

Thailand and Cambodia disagree over which country should administer a 4.6-square kilometer (1.8-square mile) tract of land surrounding the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

“I urge all armed forces that are protecting the border to remain calm, patient and avoid any activities that could provoke clashes,” he said.

Hun Sen also called on Cambodian villagers to refrain from stirring tensions near the temple site.

“I also appeal to all compatriots to remain calm … and maintain good cooperation with their neighbors in Thailand,” he said.

The prime minister added that the ICJ ruling is the “only solution” that would “completely resolve” the border dispute.

Residents on edge

Villagers on Thailand’s side of the border are fearful of a return to armed clashes ahead of the ruling, the Bangkok Post reported Thursday, and the country’s armed forces are on high alert, it quoted a senior military official as saying.

Thai villages near Preah Vihear have begun building new concrete bunkers and reinforcing old ones in the lead up to the verdict, the report said, adding that residents are preparing “for any potential situation which could unfold on Monday.”

The paper quoted army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha as saying that the military—including the navy and the air force—is on alert and has stepped up border patrol operations.

“We are increasing measures on all fronts. We are reinforcing our forces to be ready to fully protect our sovereignty,” Gen. Prayuth said.

Cambodian residents of Oddor Meanchey province near the site said they were unprepared for any potential clashes because they were largely unaware that the ICJ ruling would be made on Monday.

“We don’t have any televisions to watch the news,” one villager told RFA’s Khmer Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We will stay at home and only leave the mountain area if clashes occur,” he said.

But the Phnom Penh Post said Thursday that many Cambodian residents in areas near Preah Vihear were “preparing for the worst.”

The newspaper quoted Muol Map, chief of Choam Ksan district’s Kantuot commune, located 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the border, as saying that villagers had been warned about the impending ICJ decision.

“I instructed every villager in my commune to restore and clean the existing bunkers in preparation for any incident,” he said.

Long-running dispute

Hearings on the Preah Vihear dispute were held in April after Phnom Penh asked for a reinterpretation of the ICJ’s 1962 ruling that awarded possession of the temple to Cambodia, but did not take into account the now-disputed land surrounding it.

Each side has accused the other of using incorrect maps to better support its claim.

The Thai legal team argued that Cambodia’s “real request” was about reinterpreting the original ruling in its own favor, rather than about any ambiguities in the original ruling.

Occasional violent confrontations have occurred between the militaries of Thailand and Cambodia since 2008, when the Preah Vihear temple, located atop a cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The latest clashes left 10 dead in February 2011 and 18 dead in April that year.

Thailand and Cambodia pulled hundreds of soldiers out of the area in July 2012, a year after the ICJ asked the two countries to demilitarize the disputed zone and replace the soldiers with police and security guards.

While the site has since been free from bloodshed, tensions over the temple boundaries remain.

Earlier this week, soldiers from both sides of the border held a series of soccer matches and “peace lunches” to defuse tensions ahead of the ICJ ruling, the Phnom Penh Post reported.

Beginning Friday, commanders of the two forces will speak with each other by telephone every hour until the verdict is announced.

Reported by Samean Yun and Sotheacheath Chea for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.


Anonymous said...

No, he is no long our Cambodian PM. He is a dickhead who stole our votes and seat of our real elected PM Sam. From now on, he is simply Hun Sen or Hun Nal or Hai Phuc, a khmer traitor or a VC pretending to be khmer. I want him and his VC wife and kids off our khmers' soil now!. So, piss off before it is too late.

The fk VC and their mafia group should be ashame of themselves by now, after being caugh red-handed. In real life what do we do to criminals like them crooks, we hang them, shot them in the head or we imprisonment them for life. But in this case, because they are well organised crimes and so, only god knows how to pull them down. As 'no one can get away from any injustice that they have committed', lets rest in his hands. For now, only time will tell.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

don't blame khmer, blame the thieves, siem yellow group people! if they respect the 1907 map, there wouldn't be any problem already! they siem like those groups want cambodia to share with them what righteously belongs to khmer people? why? to us khmer, it makes no sense to share khmer temples with siem. and of course accordance to the 1907 map, the correct map is that map, not siem's unilateral map. khmer people always say no way to siem for using their unilateral map to steal from cambodia! something is wrong with them doing that. who in their right mind still support siem like this? i don't understand at all!

Anonymous said...

To 6:38 AM,
If Youn & Hun Sen have respected the agreement in 1954 and Pari accord 1991, Cambodia will not lost the Koh Trarl too. Why must The Thai respected the old agreement in 1907 with France? Can you answer this question Ah Pleur?

Anonymous said...

so are you saying yuon did it, so siem can do it, too? talk about taking advantage of my country cambodia! not right and unacceptable, period! how do you guys like it if china which is way bigger than thailand and vietnam and the philipines or what have you, take your country, how do you like it? cambodia knows the feeling for that kind of injustice, that's why we ask the icj to help find justice for khmer people and cambodia which these countries took advantage of us by look down us like we're smaller than them or whatever. this is where the court of law comes to play, so why all of a suddenly siem yellow crooks react to the verdict in advance when they know well the law is never in their favor! whoever support siem in this matter is not using justice, only using aggression. we know already and the world knows, too! must i say more? it's a case by case scenerio. so calm down already and stop politicizing camobdia all the time. by the way, mr. hun sen did a very good job for cambodia. i'm sure khmer people from all walks of life are so proud of him. of course, only your political group called opposition is not proud of him. people are aware of that already!

Anonymous said...

*អាCNRP វា​គ្រាន់តែជាឧបករណ៍យួន ឬ
ជាក្រុម​ហ៊ុន​ឯកជនផ្ដាច់មុខរបស់សម រង្សី

*ស៊ីឈ្នួលលាងបង្គ​ន់​អាចម៍អាCPP ជួយសង្រ្គោះ
ឲ្យ​​អាកញ្ជះយួនហ៊ុន សែនឲ្យវារស់​ឡើងវិញ

*អារន្ទះផ្ទប់CNRP-សំ រង្សី ជាស្វាយួនបន្លំខ្លួនជាខ្មែរ


Anonymous said...

HUN SEN must answer all questions regarding to Cambodian territory, he is the one gave Vietnamese solders to move the Border post into Cambodia ?

Anonymous said...

My guess is Under Hun Sen and CPP incompetency we will loose to Thailand.
Because there are many many dumb people working in CPPs as they are good at using force against it own people but when it come to it neighbour it a dog.

Anonymous said...

7:10 AM. Al Plue, you talked alot of crap but didnt answer the question.

AH Kwak Hun Sen signed many treaties with the Youn, effectively giving the Youn the Khmer sovereignty including Koh Tral.

Can you answer the question, what rights does Ah Kwak have to sign away our Khmer sovereignty to Youn?

Anonymous said...

Vietnam is the biggest threat to Cambodia's existence, not Thailand, so we all Khmers should focus on how to overthrow the illegal government of Hun Sen.