January 30, 2011
The military confrontation between Cambodian and Thai troops over the border area near Preah Vihear temple continues on Saturday and troops on both sides are still on high alert, said a close military source standby at the area.
"We're still on high alert to defend our territorial integrity, " a senior officer, who asked not to be named, said on Saturday.
Thai side has stepped up their troops on their border side; they attempted to bring their Thai flag to fly at Cambodia's Keo Sikha Kiri Svarak pagoda near Preah Vihear temple, he said.
"We have warned Thai troops in advance already, if they dare to enter Cambodian territory, Cambodia will use self-defense rights to protect our sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.
Cambodian Ministry of Defense on Friday has dispatched dozens of tanks and fighting vehicles as well as missiles and ammunition to Preah Vihear temple area. He said that those armaments have arrived at Preah Vihear temple on Saturday morning.
The re-tension between Cambodia and Thailand over the border happened on Thursday after Thailand demanded Cambodia to remove a national flag over Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svarak pagoda near Preah Vihear temple, claiming that the pagoda is on the disputed area, but Cambodian side rejected it.
Meanwhile, Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a declaration on Friday to firmly reject the demand of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to remove the Cambodia's flag at the pagoda near Preah Vihear temple.
The ministry said that according to the map produced by the Franco-Siamese commissions between the period of 1905 and 1908, the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda, built by the people of Cambodia in 1998, is clearly situated in the Cambodian territory. Therefore, the flag of Cambodia is legitimately flying over this pagoda.
The ministry called "the statement made by Thai Prime Minister in parallel with Thailand's military exercise at the border with Cambodia is clearly provocative and constitutes a casus belli for future acts of aggression against Cambodia."
Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. Just a week after the enlistment, Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.