Neighbourly row only

13 10 2008

I MAY BE travelling to Cambodia in December. I have been to only five ASEAN countries before and it will be my first time to visit Phnom Penh in a couple of months’ time. But I am quite surprised to find out about the latest news on border tensions between Thailand and Cambodia. I got the BBC News link below:

Cambodian military police officers patrol past a famed temple of Preah Vihear, Aug 2008

Cambodia’s decision to ask for Unesco status sparked tensions

“Cambodia’s military says that Thai troops have pulled back from a disputed border zone after its prime minister issued an ultimatum.

There was no immediate Thai confirmation of the reports which came shortly before the Cambodian deadline was due to expire.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had warned of a potential “battle zone”.

Earlier, Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat reportedly said that troops would not leave the area.

Singapore’s foreign ministry has reportedly called for both countries to show restraint and “resolve the issue through negotiations without resorting to force”.

Tension has been high since July, when hundreds of soldiers on both sides faced off only metres apart.

Temple tensions

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had given Thailand until noon (0500 GMT) to pull out its troops but did not say what would be the consequences of failing to do so.

Map

Cambodian army commander Brig Gen Yim Pin later said that all Thai troops had retreated and were about 1km (half a mile) from the contested territory.

He told the Associated Press that the “tense situation [had] now eased”.

Thailand’s foreign minister was quoted by Reuters news agency on Tuesday as telling a reporter in Bangkok: “We are in our homeland – how can they expect us to leave our home?”

The stand-off between the two countries centres on 4.6 sq km (1.8 square miles) of scrub near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, which sits on a jungle-clad escarpment dividing the countries.

An international court awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962, but land surrounding it remains the subject of rival territorial claims.

The decision by the UN in June to list Preah Vihear as a Unesco World Heritage Site reignited lingering nationalist tensions over the issue.

In early July Cambodian troops detained three Thai protesters who had entered the site illegally, sparking the military stand-off.

The two sides have already held several rounds of talks on the issue, but failed to reach agreement.”

Well, well, I pray for mutual sensibilities and good feelings of neighbourliness between the two feuding nations or else I may have to cancel my travel plan to Cambodia this year. My Air Asia ticket have been paid for online, though, and low cost fare means non-refundable. Oh what the heck, I will just go (Insya Allah). After all, the great ASEAN spirit is PEACE at all costs, isn’t it?😉

Besides, what’s the worst case scenario of a minor territorial dispute over less than two square miles of land? Let Peace, Love and Kindness settle the score once and for all…🙂

PLK


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