Source: Global Times
February 16 2011
By Wang Zhaokun
Cambodia Tuesday denied reports that Cambodian and Thai troops were again involved in border skirmishes over a disputed ancient Hindu temple.
"There wasn't a clash between the troops of both sides last night (Monday night)," Brigadier General Thul Sovan told the Xinhua News Agency Tuesday.
The Bangkok Post quoted a Thai officer as saying earlier Tuesday that five Thai soldiers were wounded when Cambodian soldiers attacked their post.
The UN Security Council earlier issued a statement calling upon both sides to call a "permanent ceasefire" and resolve the dispute peacefully.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said at a press conference Tuesday that China supports the peaceful efforts led by ASEAN and is willing to work with the international community to "play a constructive role" in tackling the border conflict.
The border clashes between Cambodia and Thailand, which began February 4 and have left at least eight dead, revolve around the longstanding dispute concerning the ancient 11th century Preah Vihear temple.
Both sides claim ownership of a 4.6-square-kilometer area surrounding the temple, which is located inside Cambodian territory, but with its main entrance within Thailand.
Zhuang Guotu, director of the Center for Southeast Asia Studies at Xiamen University, told the Global Times that the main reason why Thailand prefers bilateral dialogue is its fear that the UN might reconfirm the ruling made by the International Court in 1962, which favors Cambodia.
"Through bilateral negotiation, Thailand is able to exert more pressure on Cambodia as its national strength is larger," Zhuang said. "But I don't think the border skirmishes will escalate into a large-scale arms conflict, as neither side is ready to cope with the possible consequences."
Agencies contributed to this story