Friday, 18 February 2011

Cambodia, Thailand pledge to boost trade amid border conflict

via CAAI  

PHNOM PENH, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia and Thailand pledge to boost trade amid military confrontation at the border disputed areas near the temple of Preah Vihear, a World Heritage site.

In a meeting with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Trairong Suwankiri on Thursday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that Cambodia' s policy is to narrow dispute and expand resolution with Thailand.

"We have to control the dispute along the border, not to spread further and expand cooperation on other sectors such as economy, trade, investment, tourism, culture, among others," he said.

Trairong Suwankiri said that his one-day visit to Cambodia is to open the annual Thailand Trade Fair 2011 in Phnom Penh from Feb. 17-20.

"Thailand thanks Cambodia for supporting the Thai Trade Fair in Phnom Penh from Feb. 17-20," the Prime Minister's spokesman Eang Sophalleth quoted Trairong Suwankiri as saying.

Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand amounted to 2.54 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, up 54 percent from 1.65 billion U.S. dollars a year earlier, according to the statistics from the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

Of the sum, Cambodia exported to Thailand goods worth only 214. 7 million U.S. dollars and Thailand exported to Cambodia worth up to 2.34 billion U.S. dollars last year.

Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as the World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

The conflict is 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.

The latest clashes on Feb. 4-7, with a barrage of artillery shells unleashed on both sides of the border, had claimed the lives of soldiers and civilians on both sides and also caused tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers near the disputed areas fleeing for safe shelters.

Editor: Xiong Tong

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