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By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
18 February 2010
Thai officials should seek clarification from the International Court of Justice if they believe a 1962 judgment does not explain the boundaries between the two countries, Cambodia’s top border negotiator said.
Thai officials have been quoted in the media saying the 1962 judgment of the court awarded Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia, but did not address adjacent land.
However, Var Kimhong (pictured), head of the Cambodian Border Committee, said the court used a map that was agreed on by both sides at the time to reach its decision—that the 11-th Century Hindu temple belonged to Cambodia and thatThai forces would have to vacate it.
In its judgment, the court cited a map from a French survey conducted in the early 1900s, which delineated the frontier between Cambodia, then under French protection, and Thailand, then called Siam. The border was to follow the watershed of the Dangrek mountains, except where it circumvented Preah Vihear temple, which sits on a high escarpment overlooking the Cambodian plains.
Thailand has since claimed it does not recognized the survey map and subsequent 1904 and 1909 border agreements and has laid claim to a small strip of land west of Preah Vihear temple, land that is also claimed by Cambodia.
The 4.6-kilometer area is now in the middle of a longstanding military standoff that has left eight soldiers dead and created a tense build-up of forces between the neighbors. The dispute was sparked by the addition of Preah Vihear temple to Unesco’s World Heritage list, under Cambodian jurisdiction, in July 2008.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said recently he may seek an international solution if the two sides cannot diffuse the situation alone. Multiple rounds of bilateral talks have so far failed.
Meanwhile, Thailand should submit evidence or arguments over the disputed area rather than act outside the World Court decision, Var Kimhong said.
He blamed internal politics in Thailand, which has been shaken by instability in recent years, as the cause behind the intractability of the dispute.
Thai officials have said they believe the problem will be solved at an upcoming Unesco meeting in Brazil in July.
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Monday, February 08, 2010
Translated from Khmer by Socheata for Ki-Media
Hun Sen making a speech when he visited Preah Vihear temple on Saturday 6th Feb.
Hun Sen gave a speech at 9:22AM on Monday 08 Feb 2010. The following are some of the quotes from his speech:
- I am angry with only a few people, I am not angry with the entire Siem people, and [I am angry] with the dumb newspapers The Nation and Bangkok Post
- Excrement is Thailand is very expensive, because the Thai people gave it as a gift to the prime minister. Even with that, he does not resign from his position still
- You are a true power thief, if you don’t believe me, hold an election and you will lose.
- If my wife wears army uniform, why does it bother Abhisit? Among all of the Siem PMs, nobody is as bad as Ah Neung [derogatory for this guy].
- If you don’t tell the truth about Siem troops’ invasion in Cambodia on 15 July, let the magic objects break your neck, may you be shot, be hit by a car, may you be shocked by electricity or [may you be shot] by misfired guns.
- Not only did Thailand actually invaded [Cambodia], it also invaded and cheated on history by changing the name of Preah Vihear temple to Prah Vihan.
- I said that if the Siamese troops did not invade Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, let me be destroyed, know me well, Suthep [Thaugsuban]!
- Hun Sen also scolded The Nation newspaper, saying that if you are so dumb, don’t be a newspaper that provides false information about this visit.
- As long as you do not withdraw your troops from Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, I still call them invading troops.
- People criticize you so much, you still wouldn’t resign. My [general] stars, the king gave them to me, not the Siamese king.
- I said this much to you, are you hurt or not? If you reply back, I will add some more.
- I sent a letter to all the Siamese people, saying that there has never been any time where the Siamese society is in such discordance as it is under Abhisit Vejjajiva’s time, and also foreign relationships are extremely bad.
- You ordered the yellow shirts to help set up the coup d’état and to administer the airport.
- I ordered the Council of Ministers, as well as the [Press] and Quick Reaction Unit to properly record my voice and translate it into English.
- Will Abhisit swear on having all his family members be killed and having them [perish] in a plane crash, if [he still claims] that Siamese troops did not invade Cambodia?
- Not only am I a soldier, I even set up the soldiers.
- My [army] registration number is 000002. I am not wearing fake insignia, I am telling you Abhisit.
- Ah Nis [derogatory for “this guy”] is crazy, he is all confused, he deserves to be scolded at. This guy has no family honor.
- Why does it bother you if I wear army uniform my entire life?
- Whatever type of army uniform, there is nothing to bother Abhisit.
- I wear the general stars granted to me by the king, I am not wearing Abhisit’s stars in the sky that belong to Abhisit.
- This is not the first time that Hun Sen dons an army uniform. I was originally a soldier. You’d better know Hun Sen clearly.
- In the past 20 speeches, I did not attack you back, but you always attack me. Therefore, I will attack you back. And, if tomorrow you attack me back, I will reply back to you.
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The Phnom Penh Post
By Vong Sokheng and James O’toole
Photo by: Heng Chivoan.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife, Bun Rany, participate in a ceremony at Preah Vihear temple on Saturday.
Preah Vihear Province
PRIME Minister Hun Sen, dressed in full military fatigues, made an official visit to Preah Vihear temple on Saturday, during which he accused neighbouring Thailand of planning to invade Cambodia and called on troops to defend the Kingdom’s borders.
Joined by his wife, Bun Rany – who also donned camouflage gear – Hun Sen briefly toured Preah Vihear temple under heavy security, also inspecting weaponry and troops stationed near the contested border with Thailand.
“The border issues with Thailand have to be resolved through negotiation, but we will use force when Thai troops are invading Cambodia. The tanks and weapons are not here for exhibition only – they are here to fight against the enemy and invaders,” Hun Sen said. Thai officials, he added, “still keep it in their mind to invade Cambodia and do not know when they will stop”.
The border area, where a total of seven soldiers from both sides have been killed since July 2008, remains a potential flash point, with the opposing forces opening fire on one another last month in a series of skirmishes in which no one was hurt. Around the temple and central to the dispute is a 4.6-square-kilometre piece of land that each side claims as its own.
“Where is the 4.6 kilometers squared of land [claimed by Thailand]? It is a claim by Thai invaders,” Hun Sen said.
The premier picked up on similar themes in a speech on Sunday in the Mom Bey area of Preah Vihear province, promising not to back down in his ongoing war of words with Thai leaders.
“If the Thais keep up verbal attacks on Cambodia, then tomorrow I will keep up with verbal attacks on Thailand,” he said.
Despite his harsh remarks, however, Hun Sen received Thai Lieutenant General Veerawit Kajornrith and several colleagues who joined in a Buddhist ceremony on Saturday at the temple to pray for peace in the area.
“We are neighbouring countries, so we cannot be enemies forever,” Hun Sen told Veerawit, urging frequent talks between Thai and Cambodian commanders to avoid further armed confrontations. Veerawit thanked the prime minister for the welcome and assured him that the respective forces “often talk, and have tried to avoid all problems”.
Photo by: Heng Chivoan.
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers gather at Preah Vihear temple during Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit over the weekend..
In addition to his trip to the temple, Hun Sen attended the opening of a nearby school and distributed gifts and supplies to local villagers. He also visited the site near the temple of a market that was destroyed by Thai rocket fire last April. There he said it was up to Thailand to decide whether to pay compensation for the incident.
Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said Sunday that Bangkok was unconcerned by Hun Sen’s trip, though he asserted his country’s claim to both the land surrounding Preah Vihear temple and to Oddar Meanchey province’s Tamone Thom temple, which Hun Sen reportedly plans to visit today.
“We have a normal procedure to receive the official visitors within our own area … so that should be the same as any other visit,” Panitan said.
Panitan declined to comment on Hun Sen’s invasion accusations, but said that should the Cambodian premier choose to visit Tamone Thom, a Thai delegation would be there to welcome him.
“I think when authorities are talking to a domestic audience, we will not comment on that, but our position is clear: Tamone Thom temple is on Thai territory,” he said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said there was “no need for the Thai side to send anybody to welcome [Hun Sen] and his delegation”, and that Tamone Thom has long belonged to Cambodia.
“If [Thai officials] come as guests, the cabinet delegation led by Prime Minister Hun Sen may welcome them,” Koy Kuong said.
In a statement released on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected Thai claims to both Tamone Thom and the land surrounding Preah Vihear.
“It is very surprising and beyond comprehension that Thailand would consider sending a high-level official to welcome Samdech Techo Hun Sen, who is on a tour in the territory of Cambodia,” the statement read.
Also on Friday, Svay Sitha, chairman of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, wrote to Internet search engine Google to protest against maps appearing on the company’s mapping Web site that show Preah Vihear temple partially inside Thai territory.
Svay Sitha called the maps “devoid of truth and reality, and professionally irresponsible, if not pretentious”. He asked the company to take down the maps in question and replace them with an “internationally recognised map” that places Preah Vihear exclusively in Cambodia.
Last month, attempting to prove the legality of opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s uprooting of border posts in Svay Rieng province on the Vietnamese frontier in October, the Sam Rainsy Party released information based in part on Google-hosted maps of the Cambodian-Vietnamese border. These maps, the party argued, prove conclusively that the posts uprooted by Sam Rainsy had been placed on Cambodian territory.
Sam Rainsy, currently abroad, was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail in connection with the incident.
Google, in the terms of service for its mapping programme, says it “[makes] no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of any content or the products”.