Thai-Cambodian border skirmishes continue

Updated: 2011-04-27 15:00


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Thai-Cambodian border skirmishes continue
A Thai army tank is seen near the Thai-Cambodia border in Surin province April 27, 2011, following armed clashes on a disputed border area between Cambodia and Thailand. [Photo/Agencies] 

BANGKOK - The border clash occurring nearby Ta Muen Thom and Ta Kwai temples in the disputed areas adjacent Thailand's northeastern Surin province early Wednesday morning marked the sixth straight day of fighting between Thailand and Cambodia.  

New round of small arms firing erupted near the 13th-century temple ruins at about 5:30 am on Wednesday morning and lasted for thirty minutes, according to Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the Thai army spokesman.  

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The spokesman told Xinhua over the telephone that Cambodian troops move toward the disputed areas triggered firing which involved exchange of small arms and mortar shelling.

Regarding gunfire exchanges Tuesday's night which flared at around 10 pm, Col. Sansern said it took place as Cambodia used tanks and heavy arms to attack Thai soldiers in order to capture Ta Muen Thom and Ta Kwai temples, located 150 kilometers west of contentious Preah Vihear temple.    

The six-day deadly clashes between Cambodia and Thailand occurring since April 22 left five Thai soldiers dead and at least 57 injured as well as killed one civilian, according to the spokesman.

Thailand and Cambodia have accused each other to launch a new round of border conflicts.

Border dispute could negotiate bilaterally: Cambodian PM

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that the border dispute on temples of Ta Mon and Ta Krabei could negotiate bilaterally.

Hun Sen made the remarks at the conference of Cambodian Women Association for Peace and Development on Wednesday.  

However, Hun Sen said that as the issue of Preah Vihear temple has been raised to the UNSC and ASEAN, so "We have to respect the role of ASEAN, all the negotiations about the disputed border areas near Preah Vihear temple must be with the participation of the third party."  

"But for the disputed areas such as Ta Mon temple and Ta Krabei temple, Cambodia and Thailand can negotiate bilaterally," he said.

He called on Thailand for a cease-fire, saying that "Cambodia doesn't want the conflict to spread further." But at the same time the premier stressed that "Cambodia is small, poor and small armed forces, but don't forget that ants can hurt elephant."

Hun Sen, meanwhile, said that "Cambodia will raise the issue in the ASEAN summit next month, so Abhisit (Thai prime minister) and I can negotiate in the ASEAN summit."  "Even there is no Cambodia- Thai border issues on the agenda in the ASEAN summit, I will also raise the issue with ASEAN leaders," he added.

The ASEAN summit will be held on May 7-8 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

"Cambodia wants to solve all issues peacefully, not use weapons," Hun Sen said. He said that until Wednesday, Thai troops still launched artillery shelling into Cambodian territory.

The latest in a series of deadly clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops have occurred for five straight days from April 22-26 at the 13th century Ta Moan temple and Ta Krabei temple in Oddar Meanchey province and on April 26 at the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, the World Heritage site.

The clashes left at least a dozen of killed and more than 30 injured on both sides.

The fighting has not only cost lives, damaged to the temples, but also forced tens of thousands of civilians of both countries to flee for safe shelters.

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