International

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Heng Sinith/AP
Cambodian villagers pray to stone naga heads at Preah Vihear temple in Preah Vihear
province, Cambodia. (AP)

Thailand, Cambodia Suffer Border Tensions Over Ancient Temple

July 16, 2008 04:26 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Hundreds of troops are facing off over a land dispute triggered by the United Nations' designation of a Cambodian temple as a global landmark.

30-Second Summary

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Senior Thai and Cambodian government officials were trying to negotiate a standoff on Wednesday, Thailand's Supreme Commander Boonsrang Niumpradit told Reuters.

Cambodian officials say that about 200 Thai soldiers have crossed the Thai-Cambodian border since Tuesday. Thailand's military action followed the detainment of three Thai activists who tried to plant a Thai flag on the Preah Vihear temple site in Cambodia, which was recently designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Thais have been protesting the UN's recognition of the site, saying that land near the temple located close by the Thai-Cambodian border, is "disputed territory," while Cambodian officials say Thai troops are currently occupying their land.

Although a ruling by the International Court of Justice gave Cambodians ownership in 1962, the 11th-century temple has been an ongoing source of tension.

Kenneth T. So says that he is "incensed" that Thailand is protesting a decision made 46 years ago. "As history has recorded, the ICJ sided with Cambodia and recognized that Preah Vihear was located within Cambodia. Thailand had accepted the ICJ decision," So said in a letter to the Phnom Penh Post.

Bangkok Post reader P Que comments that "it is interesting to see the nationalist hysteria being evoked over the listing of the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site, an action which has no effect on the existing border demarcation between Cambodia and Thailand, and which so far has not caused any injuries or deaths."

Headline Links: Temple row ensues at Thai-Cambodian border

Background: Protestors launch impeachment effort

Opinion & Analysis: 'Nationalist hysteria'

Related Topics: New landmarks added to UN list ; South Korea and Japan fight over islands

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