Cambodia accuses Thailand of occupying its land through de-mining operation
China Daily – October 17, 2008
PHNOM PENH – The Cambodian government Thursday issued a statement, accusing Thailand of occupying its territory by sending troops in the border area in the name “de-mining activity.”
Thursday’s statement from the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that “the unilateral de-mining activity by Thai soldiers in Cambodia’s territory flagrantly contravenes the agreement made by both sides in the past.”
Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 14 said Thailand sent troops in the border area to undertake “de-mining efforts in the area adjacent to the Preah Vihear Temple” and “investigations to verify whether the landmines in the area are old ones or recently deployed.”
The Cambodian statement quoted three documents signed by both sides to deny the legitimacy of Thailand’s de-mining and investigating operations.
By the “de-mining activity, Thai forces were in effect occupying the areas which are clearly situated within Cambodia’s territory as demarcated by the relevant maps repeatedly endorsed by the two countries and recognized by the International Court of Justice as the basis for its judgment concerning the Preah Vihear Temple in 1962,” it said.
Cambodia strongly reaffirms the fact that landmines in this border area are remnants of almost three decades of war, it said.
“It is quite apparent that Thai soldiers must have stepped on one of those mine after having trespassed into this mine-infested area near the border,” it added.
The Cambodian and Thai militaries just agreed Thursday afternoon in Thailand to hold joint patrols to reduce tension at the disputed border area near the temple, where a gun battle between the two sides a day earlier left two Cambodian soldiers dead.
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