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PMs’ meet in Beijing to help defuse tension

 
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October 21, 2008

Thailand-Cambodia Border Dispute:
PMs’ meet in Beijing to help defuse tension

Prime ministers of Thailand and Cambodia will hold talks on the border conflict in Beijing. Somchai Wongsawat and his Cambodian counterpart are scheduled to be in the Chinese capital where of the Asia-Europe Meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, reported agencies.

It will be Somchai’s first trip abroad since taking office late last month. Earlier, he cancelled familiarisation trips to some Asean countries, in order to tend to the ongoing political crisis and anti-government street protests, reported The Nation, based in Bangkok.

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia Sri Thamrong, an adviser to Hun Sen, confirmed the Cambodian PM would hold bilateral talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, as well as with Somchai. Hun Sen left Phnom Penh yesterday for China, the paper said.


It will be the first meeting between the two leaders since a deadly clash broke out last Wednesday between Thai and Cambodian soldiers in a disputed border area near the 11th-century Preah Vihear Temple.

Border tensions between Thailand and Cambodia flared in July when Preah Vihear was awarded UN World Heritage status, rekindling long-simmering tensions over ownership of the land surrounding the temple.

The tension escalated to fighting last week when Cambodian troops at Preah Vihear opened fire on Thai soldiers. Two Cambodian soldiers were killed and 10 Thai troops injured.

Following the fighting, the two sides held lower-level emergency talks and agreed to conduct joint border patrols - which have not started yet - but offered no lasting solution to the military stand-off along the border.

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