A Change of Guard

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Wednesday 30 September 2009

Hun Sen: The 4.6km2 areas at Preah Vihea temple is Cambodian territory

Source: Radio Free Asia
Reported in English by Khmerization

Prime Minister Hun Sen (pictured) has openly declared during an inauguration of a newly-built Tourism Ministry building on 28th September that the 4.6 km2 area near the temple of Preah Vihear claimed by Thailand as undeniably Cambodian territory.

He also warned the Thai yellow shirted protesters not to enter the area. Mr. Hun Sen said: "Because of the three or four (Thai protesters who jumped borders fence on 15th July 2008) that's why Thai troops had invaded Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda. Three of them jumped the border fence: a monk, a nun and a priest. When we arrested them to compile a report, they use it as a pretext to send the troops in. So now, we don't need to arrest them. Don't need to know because this is Cambodian territory. They came with tricks because they did not only want to take the 4.6 km2 of our lands, but they wanted to take the whole Preah Vihear temple. Why such thing happened? It was because (their) prime minister said something like that because this is his original view since he was in the opposition party. Now let's confront each other face to face, either in Hua Hin or at any other forum."

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had claimed that the 4.6 km2 area is Thai territory. Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, the Thai Deputy Prime Minister, has been pressured by the Thai ultra-nationalists to take action against Cambodia for building roads in the so-called "disputed zones". In response he said: "The roads were built during the previous government. And even if there are roads in the border area it does not mean that the land belongs to Cambodia".

The claims had received a strong rebuke from the Cambodian government.

Mr. Hun Sen also warned that he will tear up the Thai unilaterally-drawn maps if there were used for the next negotiation. He said: "Khmer territory is Khmer territory. We will use maps that were internationally-recognised. We do not recognise maps that were unilaterally-drawn by the Thai side. If these maps were used for the negotiation, I will tear them up and throw them away."

On 24th September, Cambodia's Council of Ministers had issued a statement rebuking the Thai claims of the 4.6 km2 area by request the Thai leaders to respect the 1904 Khmer-Thai convention and the 1907 Khmer-Thai Treaty signed between the two countries as well as respecting the verdict of the International Court of Justice in 1962.

According to Deum Ampil, the Cambdian army has pledged its full support of Mr. Hun Sen's speech.

Gen. Chea Dara, Cambodian Deputy commander-in-Chief in charge of Preah Vihear border operations, said he and his army supports Mr. Hun Sen's speech 100%. "If there is an aggression, the first bullet will make the foreign aggressors die on Cambodian soil", he said.

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