Thai and Cambodia troops clash again near temple
Thai and Cambodian soldiers exchanged on their border fire for a second day today in a brief clash that killed a Thai soldier, the latest flare-up in a long-running feud over land around an 11th-century temple.
Southeast Asia's regional grouping, of which both Thailand and Cambodia are members, said the deteriorating situation was undermining confidence in the region and would affect its economic recovery.
The Thai soldier was killed, and four were wounded, in a two-square-mile disputed area around the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, a jungle-clad escarpment claimed by both countries, said Thai army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd.
The neighbours fought with rocket-propelled grenades and guns for about 25 minutes from 6:15am local time before reaching a ceasefire in the early afternoon and agreeing not to reinforce troops, the spokesman said.
That followed an intense two-hour clash yeseterday in which three Cambodians, including two soldiers, and a Thai villager were killed, the first fatalities in the militarised border area since a Thai soldier was shot dead on 31 January 2010.
Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said one of the Cambodians killed yesterday was a tourist visiting the temple overlooking northern Cambodia. He said 10 Cambodian soldiers were wounded, but there were no fatalities on today.
The United States has urged both sides to show restraint.
The fighting is the latest flare-up in on-again off-again tension between the neighbours and could inflame passions among Thai pro-establishment "yellow shirt" protesters demanding Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva take a tougher line against Cambodia.
The Thai Foreign Ministry accused Cambodia of engaging in "an act of aggression" in "violation of Thai sovereignty and territorial integrity". Cambodia accuses Thailand of invasion and filed a complaint with the UN Security Council.
The Thai government said 3,000 civilians were evacuated during yesterday's fighting.
The clashes come after a Cambodian court on Tuesday handed down jail terms of six and eight years to two Thai activists found guilty of trespassing and spying in the border region, a verdict that has angered some in Thailand.
The temple, known as Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Khao Phra Viharn in Thailand, sits on land that forms a natural border and has been a source of tension for generations.
The International Court of Justice awarded it to Cambodia in 1962 but the ruling did not determine the ownership of the scrub next to the ruins, leaving considerable scope for disagreement.
The area is remote with only scattered villages on the Thai side and little development on the Cambodian side.
The secretary-general of the Assocition of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) caled for calm and said both sides must return to negotiations.
"The situation has escalated into open conflict. And that will definitely affect our economic development, confidence in our region, and tourism and prospects for foreign investment, which have just been picking up in light of the world economic recovery," Surin Pitsuwan said in a statement.
Surin, a former Thai foreign minister, said he had been in touch with both sides who he understood welcomed ASEAN mediation.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...