SI SA KET, Jan 7 – The situation along the Thai-Cambodian border in this northeastern Thai province remains calm today amid renewed tension due to the Thai Foreign Ministry’s handling of the Phra Viharn (Preah Vihear) temple dispute.
Residents in Si Sa Ket lead their lives normally but closely monitoring news after Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul admitted he was not confident Thailand will win the Phra Viharn (Preah Vihear) temple dispute filed by Cambodia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands.
Veerasit Koksee, 67-year-old resident of Phum Srol village in Kantaralak district, said he follows the news every day and urges concerned agencies to clarify the issue with the public as news reports are inconsistent.
Pan Kingsaeng from Sokkampom village, the coordination point of the so-called activist group Dhammar Yatra Pitak Siam is located, said the group retains their protest stage there and is prepared to rally again.
Mr Pan, a Dhamma Yatra group activist, said he calls on the government to solve the border dispute as soon as possible. He pledges the group’s stage is ready to be a forum of public opinion.
Meanwhile, trade at Chong Sangam border pass in Bhu Sing district is normal with Thai and Khmer traders doing business as usual. The Preah Vihear conflict has not been discussed in the area.
The conflict between Thailand and Cambodia erupted shortly after UNESCO approved Cambodia’s bid to have Phra Viharn temple named a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. Thailand claims ownership of 4.6 square kilometres of scrubland next to the temple.