Thai, Cambodian Troops Face Off Again Near Temple

March 25, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Star

Wire Service: Reuters

Thai and Cambodian soldiers faced each other near a 900-year-old Hindu temple on their disputed border on Wednesday, but both sides pledged to avoid a repeat of last year's armed clashes.

Tensions rose when 100 Thai troops crossed into a disputed area near the Preah Vihear temple and were stopped by Cambodian soldiers, Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said.

"We are trying to push the Thais back to their border through negotiation. We do not want violence again," he said, referring to a firefight that killed 4 soldiers last October.

Thailand's military commander in the area said the troop movements were routine.

"Both sides move their troops from time to time. We inform our Cambodian friends of our movements and vice versa," Major General Kanok NetraKaveysana told Reuters.

The border had been quiet for months while the Southeast Asian neighbours sought to jointly demarcate the jungle-clad area where one Thai and three Cambodian soldiers died in last year's exchange of rifle and rocket fire.