Thai-Cambodia clashes continue into fifth day

BANGKOK, THAILAND (BNO NEWS) — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Tuesday ordered a review of bilateral relations with Cambodia as border clashes continue to spread in the neighboring countries for the fifth consecutive day.

Both countries have confirmed clashes near the Preah Vihear temple on Tuesday, which is around 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of the Ta Krabey temple, where fighting has continued, but no reports of casualties have been released in the latest clashes.

At least 12 soldiers from both countries have been killed during the the recent clashes, which continues to worsen. On Monday, clashes erupted near the Ta Muen Thom temple in Thailand’s eastern Surin province, causing about 25,000 residents to evacuate the area.

Previously, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya had suggested the government to review its relation with Cambodia at the weekly Cabinet meeting, while Thailand’s National army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had stated that the government was currently discussing whether or not to go to war with Cambodia over the disputed border.

On Tuesday, Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the cabinet passed a three-part resolution disclosing retaliatory militarily action to push Cambodian soldiers out of the disputed area; diplomatic efforts to bring Cambodia back to bilateral talks; and all ministries are to review work plans and mechanisms involving cooperation with Cambodia.

Both Cambodia and Thailand claim the 4.6 square kilometer area near the ancient Preah Vihear temple on their shared border, which has never been formally established. Cambodia requested Indonesian observers to mediate in the conflict but Thailand denied.

Tensions first escalated between the two countries in July 2008 following the build-up of military forces near the Preah Vihear temple. The United Nations Security Council urged both sides to establish a permanent ceasefire after at least 10 people were killed.

Clashes resumed in February as both nations claim the lands surrounding the ancient Hindu Temple, which has been damaged due to the conflict. The Preah Vihear temple dates back to the 11th century and is located on the Cambodian side of the border.

In 2008, it was inscribed on the World Heritage List in recognition of its outstanding universal value. It is considered an outstanding example of Khmer architecture and consists of a complex of sanctuaries linked by pavements and staircases on an 800-metre-long axis.

Thailand and Cambodia are scheduled to meet in next month’s ASEAN summit, which is scheduled to take place in Indonesia. In addition, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya also has an appointment to meet with ASEAN chairman Marty Natalegawa on Thursday.

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