Washington, DC Thursday, 10 February 2011
Anti-government demonstrators listen to speeches near Government House in Bangkok, Thailand. The People's Alliance for Democracy, also known as the "Yellow Shirts," are calling for marches later in the week in the capital as they pressure the government over a land dispute with Cambodia.
“I believe this seminar will improve the relationship between Thailand and Cambodia.”
A group of scholars suggests that a better understanding of historical ties between Cambodia and Thailand could allay some of the tensions that led to deadly fighting on the border.
At a seminar examining the traditional relations between the two countries, academics met at Bangkok’s Thammasat University on Tuesday, just two days after a fresh round of clashes that killed up to 10 people and that Cambodia’s prime minister labeled a “small war.”
The seminar included talks from You Ay, Cambodia’s ambassador to Thailand, and Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.
“I believe this seminar will improve the relationship between Thailand and Cambodia,” Songkiat Kulwuthvilas, one of the main organizers, said. “The new generation, like the students, wishes to see peace between Thailand and Cambodia.”
Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told VOA Khmer the ambassador had tried to explain to Thai professors and researchers a historical perspective “without racial discrimination.”
“There should not be a fake history that causes confusion from one generation to another,” he said.
Participants agreed that a better understanding of history could be a way to diffuse tension in the future.
But Ros Chantrabot, a Cambodian historian, told VOA Khmer the relationship would require some rethinking in Thailand.
“To live together in harmony, I see that it is not the Khmers who would have to find the way, but the Thais who should change their point of view,” he said. “Secondly, the Thais have to recognize their true history. And third, they should clearly know the truth about their culture and literature.”