Published on February 11, 2011
Re: "Hun Sen bully boy: Kasit", February 9.
I was happy to see Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya show more of his old self in correctly criticising Hun Sen for acting like a bully toward Thailand, a militarily much stronger country than Cambodia.
I agree with him that Thailand has been too patient with Cambodia's war-mongering, and also that Thailand should have learned a lesson from the World Court about the bias of UN-related agencies, and also of powers like China, India and Russia that like to curry favour with "poor countries" like Cambodia. Mr Kasit is also right that the US, which knows how corrupt the Cambodian government is, should support Thailand as the peaceful player in this matter.
While Cambodia illegally arrested seven Thai MPs and other officials, millions of Cambodians have been freely coming to, working and living in Thailand for decades. Cambodia has returned this favour by harbouring persons for whom the Thai court has issued arrest warrants; holding anti-Thai riots orchestrated by the government; and creating conflict along the border.
Again I think Mr Kasit is right in saying "the Cambodian government told its people that Thailand had been bullying Cambodia during the past 700 years". It is a political strategy to stir up nationalism, and also appeals to China and Vietnam, the biggest investors and political force in Cambodia, respectively.
The November issue of Khmer Property magazine has a story called "Road Development Project in Preah Vihear Province", which shows major road projects in this area being carried out, surprise, by Chinese companies.
The only major point where I differ from Mr Kasit's interviews is he over-emphasises the Preah Vihear case as a "media event". Actually, it is purely political and certainly involves third countries who see a mutual advantage in Cambodia's border war. In this light, I fail to understand why the Abhisit government does not cancel the hated MOU signed by a previous government, and not enter into any other joint cooperation with Cambodia.
Mr Abhisit, a little strength would help for a change. People who keep asking for joint administration of the area falsely see that there is a win-win solution, when really Cambodia is trying to gain several advantages at the expense of Thailand. As an American, I hope that our government sides squarely with Thailand in this affair where Cambodia is (once again) in the wrong.