Thai military denies planning attack on Cambodia

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BANGKOK, June 29 – Thailand’s First Army Region Commander, Lt-Gen Udomdej Sitabutr on Wednesday denied as spurious the idea that Thai troops will attack Cambodia on July 1 as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sun reportedly claimed.

The Thai military has a clear policy that it will not invade other countries but will retaliate only after being attacked first, he said.

Gen Udomdej said the Cambodian military has moved more infantry units closer to Thailand’s northeastern border province of Sa Kaeo, however, there has been no report of reinforcement of armoured vehicles or heavy weapons. The move, he said, has not affected the border situation.

However, the first army region commander said he has ordered his subordinates to step up security measures including a strict check on people and vehicles which approach the border checkpoint and sought negotiation to ease problems such as talks by the regional border committee earlier scheduled in April.

Cambodia however has not yet responded to that.

Gen Udomdej also denied reports which link the border situation to an attempt to provide an excuse to cancel Thailand’s general election on July 3.

Thailand on Saturday announced its departure from the World Heritage Convention (WHC) at the WHC meeting in Paris, saying the World Heritage Committee failed to heed its request seeking postponement of Cambodia’s unilaterally-proposed Preah Vihear temple management plan, as Thailand fears that it may threaten national sovereignty.

‪‪Ties between the neighbours have been strained since Preah Vihear temple was granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.

In April, Cambodia asked the court to clarify its 1962 ruling on the ancient Hindu temple on its disputed border with Thailand following recent deadly armed clashes between the two neighbouring countries.

The court, based in The Hague, ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but both Phnom Penh and Bangkok claim ownership of 4.6-square-kilometre of the surrounding area. (MCOT online news)