Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Army boosts presence in disputed area

via CAAI

Published: 2/02/2011 

Thailand is ramping up its military presence in the disputed area along the border with Cambodia but the army insists the use of force will be the last resort.

The military rumblings come as the spat over the presence of national flags in the disputed zone continues, with Cambodia refusing to remove its national standard from Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara inside the contested area and Thailand erecting its own in response.

Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara is the Cambodian name of the temple known in Thailand as Wat Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara.

The Thai flag is said to be bigger and stands taller than the Cambodian one.

Army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha said the border dispute should be solved through the Joint Boundary Commission, adding the Foreign Affairs Ministry was pursuing this channel.

"Use of force will be the last resort," Gen Prayuth said.

"The government must try to solve this through dialogue."

He insisted Thailand had not lost any territory, despite the claims of the People's Alliance for Democracy pressure group, which is protesting against the government's handling of the dispute.

Gen Prayuth said the two countries had increased security along the border but insisted neither had any intention to intrude on the other's territory.

He said Cambodia's deployment of tanks and heavy weapons along the border was part of military preparedness in response to media expectation of the use of force.

Thailand had mobilised its own troops and arms, but Gen Prayuth said this was a routine preparatory practice.

"There are several approaches ranging from talks to force. If talks fail and there is a troop stand-off, that is another story," he said.

"But I don't want to see this happen. It will use a lot of resources. We have to help lessen tension.

" A war is not just about shooting at each other. We need to bring two or three times more troops to the border. There is also weapon support. All of this needs money."

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