Thai politics

NYT on ICJ Preah Vihear ruling

The New York Times says:

The top judicial body of the United Nations on Monday sought to defuse tensions at a Southeast Asian flash point, ordering Cambodia and Thailand to withdraw troops from a disputed temple and establishing a demilitarized zone along their mountainous border.

The piece also contains a couple of graphs of helpful background info:

The dispute over the temple has its roots in the period when French colonizers controlled what is modern-day Cambodia. In the early 1900s, French surveyors traced the border line along the watershed of the Dangrek mountain range, but deviated from the watershed at Preah Vihear, placing the temple inside Cambodia. It was an awkward demarcation because of the temple’s location on a bluff more easily accessed from Thailand.

But Thailand’s government made no protest at the time and used the French maps as their own, according to a judgment by the International Court of Justice in 1962. That judgment established that the temple should be inside Cambodian territory. But the ruling did not address the sovereignty of the land surrounding the temple, which is the subject of the ongoing dispute.

Again, here’s my post on the subject from yesterday.

Thai politics

ICJ: Thailand, Cambodia troops should withdraw from Preah Vihear

2011 07 18 preah vihear

There’s news today from the U.N.’s International Court of Justice on the Preah Vihear temple. The BBC says:

The UN’s highest court has ordered Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw troops from a disputed border region near an ancient temple complex.


The court said both sides must allow access to observers from the regional bloc Asean.

The AP reports:

The court drew a “provisional demilitarized zone” around the 1,000-year-old Preah Vihear temple that would push Thai troops back from positions they have long occupied and would see Cambodian armed forces leave the temple’s immediate vicinity.

Meanwhile, here is an ICJ press release (PDF) on the ruling.

How will the news affect Thailand’s domestic politics? (Or politics within Cambodia, for that matter?) That’s still unclear.

Before the ruling, the Bangkok Post reported that:

There will not be any immediate troop withdrawal from the disputed area around Preah Vihear temple, regardless of the decision due today from the International Court of Justice, Army Region 2 spokesman Prawit Hukaew said on Monday.

(Emphasis mine.)

For more on the issue, see the Preah Vihear tag.

(Image: Wikipedia.)

Thai politics Thailand

Al Jazeera: “Thai-Cambodia clashes continue despite truce”

Al Jazeera English today:

Thai-Cambodia clashes continue despite truce

A brief cease-fire between Thailand and Cambodia has broken down, shattering hopes for a quick end to the border conflict as the two sides exchanged fire for an eighth day and the death toll rose to 16.

Thai politics Thailand

AP: “Thailand, Cambodia cease-fire reached after week”

The AP today:

Thailand, Cambodia cease-fire reached after week

PHANOM DONGRAK, Thailand – Thai and Cambodian military commanders agreed to a cease-fire Thursday after seven days of artillery duels killed 15 people, Cambodia said. Thailand did not immediately confirm it, but the contested border was quiet most of the day.

Thai politics Thailand

WSJ editorial: “Thailand Going Rogue”

Just briefly, following the story I pointed out yesterday, here’s more from the Wall Street Journal. This is an editorial today on the ongoing Thailand-Cambodia clashes and Thai domestic politics:

Thailand Going Rogue

Fighting over the disputed territory surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple along the Thai-Cambodia border resumed last Friday, with both sides trading artillery fire and accusations of targeting civilian villages throughout the weekend. The Associated Press reports 12 soldiers confirmed dead.

The world may never know which side started the latest clash, since Thailand continues to resist allowing international observers to monitor the area. And both countries deserve some blame for stirring the pot at various times. Nevertheless, it has become increasingly clear that the Thai military is doing nothing to ease the tension.

Thai politics Thailand

WSJ on Thailand-Cambodia clashes and Thai elections

Today’s WSJ:

Thai-Cambodia Border Dispute Adds to Election Worries

A simmering border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia has killed at least 10 soldiers over the past three days and also threatens to complicate a heated political environment in Bangkok, where rumors are swirling about military coups or other ways to block planned elections.


The conflict also might complicate Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s plans to dissolve Thailand’s parliament next month and pave the way for elections to be held as soon as June. The 46-year-old, Oxford-educated economist is counting on the vote to end five years of instability and violence and enable Thailand, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy after Indonesia, to build on its rapid recovery from the global economic slump.

But some analysts say there is still a risk the vote might not take place at all.

(Emphasis mine.)


New clashes on Thailand-Cambodia border

2011 04 22 thailand cambodia map

A Bloomberg story:

Thai and Cambodian troops clashed in a disputed border area today, killing at least four soldiers in the first major fighting since the United Nations Security Council urged a permanent cease-fire two months ago.

One Thai soldier died and six were wounded in the fighting, which occurred several hundred kilometers west of clashes in February near a United Nations World Heritage site, Veerachon Sukondhadhpatipak, the Thai army’s deputy spokesman, said by phone. Three Cambodian troops were killed in the fighting, Xinhua reported, citing Cambodian military commander Neak Vong.

And here’s an explainer piece from Reuters, as well as a BBC story.

Map via the BBC.

For more, see posts here with the Preah Vihear tag.

Thai politics Thailand

Thailand, Cambodia, and Preah Vihear: more links

Preah vihear

A few more items to pass along:

(Image: BBC News.)


Thaksin arrives in Cambodia

Quick post to point out a recent AFP story that says Thailand’s exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has arrived in neighboring Cambodia.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra landed in the Cambodian capital Tuesday to carry out his new role as economics adviser to the government, an AFP photographer said.

Thaksin exited a small private airplane at Phnom Penh International Airport and was then escorted into the Cambodian capital by a convoy of cars under tight security, said an AFP photographer at the scene.

The visit is set to further escalate tensions with neighbouring Thailand, which have increased since last week when Cambodia appointed Thaksin — ousted as Thai prime minister in a 2006 coup — as economics adviser.

(Emphasis mine.)

You can find some context in my previous post about Thailand, Cambodia, and Thaksin.


Fighting on Thai-Cambodia border

AFP: “Heavy gunfire at Thai-Cambodia border: commander

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Heavy gunfire broke out Friday on the disputed Thai-Cambodian border, a Cambodian commander told AFP, following a brief exchange of shots earlier in the day.

“We are in a gun fight with the Thai soldiers now. There is heavy gunfire along the border,” commander Bun Thean told AFP.

He said shots had been fired between troops in at least three spots near the ancient Preah Vihear temple on the border, which has never been fully demarcated.

Cambodian soldier Yeim Kheang, stationed at the border, confirmed to AFP by telephone that both sides were firing shots, saying the exchange began at 2:00 pm (0700 GMT).

There was no immediate response from Thailand.

You can find more info on this issue in a post from October here.