A Change of Guard

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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Thailand stepped up rhetoric against Cambodia by vowing to use force

By Khmerization

Thailand has stepped up its rhetoric against Cambodia over the Preah Vihear conflict, with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva vowing to use force against Cambodia to take control of the plot of land surrounding temple complex.

In a response to Mr. Abhisit's comments, the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Cambodia reserves its "legitimate rights to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity" to protect the land.

Mr. Abhisit was quoted by The Nation as saying that Thailand will cancel the MOU if the problem can't be settled. He said Thailand will use both democratic and "military means" to settle the dispute. Mr. Abhisit comments were made in response to pressures from Thai ultra-nationalists who called on him to cancel the 2000 MOU with Cambodia.

In a statement released on Saturday, Cambodian Foreign Ministry said Thailand has an obligation to respect any bilateral agreements it signed with Cambodia. It also accused Thailand of violating bilateral agreement and international laws, if Thailand unilaterally cancelled the agreed MOU.

The Thai government has come under strong pressures from Thai ultra-nationalists to take action on Preah Vihear issue in the wake of Unesco's acceptance of Cambodia's management plan of Preah Vihear temple in a meeting in Brazil last week.

Political observers fear that the war of words between Bangkok and Phnom Penh could degenerate into armed clashes along the border if it is not contained.

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