The Ministry of Finance has ordered the Customs Department to try to keep its checkpoints along the Thai-Cambodian border open to trade, Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Phataraprasit said on Wednesday.
“I have ordered customs officials to do their best not to close the border checkpoints, despite the recent clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops, because it could hurt border trade,” said Mr Pradit.
Director-general of customs Prasong Poontaneat said his department was ready to close the border if ordered by security units.
Deputy Prime Minister for security affairs Suthep Thaugsuban said on Wednesday that it was not necessary to reduce the level of ties between Thailand and Cambodia at this time.
Any such a move would hurt people living along the border, particularly those involved in border trade. The border conflict was not caused by the residents in the border area.
He said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will not make a direct call to Cambodian premier Hun Sen at this time . He will allow the appropriate state offices to do their job.
“It would be a loss of dignity for the country if the prime minister contacts Hun Sen first," Mr Suthep said.
"Also, Cambodia might use it to claim that Thailand has surrendered,” said Mr Suthep.
Asked about Cambodia’s claim that the Preah Vihear temple has been damaged by the border fighting and Unesco would send its team to inspect the ancient temple, Mr Suthep said it would be good if the international agency helps establish the facts.
The deputy premier confirmed he had received a report that Cambodian troops had used Preah Vihear temple as a base to attack Thailand.
He was not concerned about the People’s Alliance for Democracy’s plan to go to Si Sa Ket’s Kantharalak district, because the border district is now under the martial law.