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30 September 2009

Border Dispute:
Thai PM: Hun Sen wants to make headlines

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Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Tuesday insisted that Thailand was ready to assert its rights after his Cambodian counterpart Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier ordered his troops to shoot any intruders from Thailand who stepped on Cambodian soil, Thai news agency TNA reported.

The Thai premier said that raising the issue to an international level was Hun Sen's style.

"When he (Hun Sen) was interviewed by foreign media, he always expressed this attitude," said Mr Abhisit. "It is his style in making headlines."

Abhisit, however, assured that Thailand was always ready for negotiations, but "at the same time, we are ready to assert our rights."

Despite the ongoing tension on the border, the Thai premier expressed confidence that his Cambodian counterpart will attend the 15th Asean Summit and other related summits at the Thai seaside resort Hua Hin, scheduled for October 23-25.

Hun Sen's announcement came after yellow-shirt protesters of Thailand's Peoples’ Alliance for Democracy (PAD) rallied in the Thai province of Si Sa Ket near the disputed Preah Vihear border area with Cambodia and clashed with local police and residents there.

The PAD supporters’ gathering opposed Cambodia's plan to build new structures in the area near the ancient Preah Vihear temple disputed by Thailand and Cambodia.

Tensions between the two neighbouring countries flared after the United Nations cultural body Unesco approved Cambodia's bid in July last year to list the 11th century temple as a world heritage site, while the question of sovereignty over the 4.6 square kilometres of surrounding land has never been clearly resolved, angering some Thais who continued to claim Thailand’s ownership of the site.


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