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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 830

Shattered Ties: King calls for common sense

Bangkok, Thailand, Jan. 31: His Majesty the King intervened yesterday to help quell an angry protest in Bangkok after relations between Thailand and Cambodia soured further following the Kingdom’s decision to down?grade diplomatic relations with Phnom Penh.

The government’s action was a protest in response to what it called Cambodia’s “failure” to adequately protect Thailand’s diplomatic corps and Thaiowned businesses in the Phnom Penh when mobs rioted against the Kingdom on Wednesday.

The Bt321million Thai embassy was destroyed by fire during the ram?

Police chief Gen Sant Sarutanond told more than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok yesterday that it was His Majesty’s wish that every?body refrain from the use of violence and return home.

His Majesty had earlier asked his principle private secretary, Arsa Sarasin, to phone Sant on his behalf.

Before peacefully dispersing, the protesters sang the royal anthem.

The protesters had flocked to the Cambodian embassy after seeing news footage of Cambodian demon?strators burning and looting the Thai embassy and Thai businesses in Phnom Penh.

Protesters tore down the sign on the gate of the Cambodian embassy, throwing it to the ground and stamp?ing on it.

An infuriated Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday told reporters that all activities with Cambodia had been severed.

“We’re hurt. We have stopped all activities with Cambodia. No Cambodian will be allowed to come to Thailand, and we will bring all Thai people out from Cambodia,” Thaksin said.

Defence Minister Gen Thamarak Isarankura has ordered all ThaiCambodia border checkpoints closed and all Cambodian “workers and beggars” to be sent back.

“I told the police to round them up and dump them at the border,” Thamarak said.

He said the thousands of Cambodian traders and smallscale merchants who cross the border checkpoint every day in eastern Thailand had been turned away.

In Pattaya yesterday immigration police rounded up about 250 Cambodian fishermen, working on Thai vessels, for deportation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Cambodian Ambassador Ung Sean had been summoned yester?day to receive a strongly worded aidememoire that stated the envoy should be recalled within 24 hours for his own safety.

He said the envoy’s departure meant Cambodia’s diplomatic representation to Thailand was effectively downgraded to the level of charge d’affaires.

Thaksin said Cambodia’s diplomatic downgrading would remain until Thailand received a satisfactory explanation and compensation.

Thailand has also recalled its ambassador to Phnom Penh, Chatchawed Chartsuwan, who on Wednesday escaped an angry mob of about 1,000 by climbing the embassy wall.

All ongoing technical and economic cooperation projects between the two governments, including a job skills training programme, had been suspended along with a joint cabinet meeting set down for Siam Reap in April, Sihasak said.

The ministry had also briefed diplomatic representatives in Bangkok, including officials from China, Japan, South Korea and Australia, he said. Thailand would handle the issue on a bilateral basis, he added.

The ministry has set up a 24hour centre to monitor the situation in Cambodia. People with concerns about relatives in Cambodia can contact the centre on 02 6435262, or fax 02 6435256.

- The Nation, Agencies -

Published on Jan 31, 2003

His Majesty the King intervened yesterday to help quell an angry protest in Bangkok after relations between Thailand and Cambodia soured further following the Kingdom’s decision to down?grade diplomatic relations with Phnom Penh.

The government’s action was a protest in response to what it called Cambodia’s “failure” to adequately protect Thailand’s diplomatic corps and Thaiowned businesses in the Phnom Penh when mobs rioted against the Kingdom on Wednesday.

The Bt321million Thai embassy was destroyed by fire during the ram?page.

Police chief Gen Sant Sarutanond told more than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in front of the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok yesterday that it was His Majesty’s wish that every?body refrain from the use of violence and return home.

His Majesty had earlier asked his principle private secretary, Arsa Sarasin, to phone Sant on his behalf.

Before peacefully dispersing, the protesters sang the royal anthem.

The protesters had flocked to the Cambodian embassy after seeing news footage of Cambodian demon?strators burning and looting the Thai embassy and Thai businesses in Phnom Penh.

Protesters tore down the sign on the gate of the Cambodian embassy, throwing it to the ground and stamp?ing on it.

An infuriated Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday told reporters that all activities with Cambodia had been severed.

“We’re hurt. We have stopped all activities with Cambodia. No Cambodian will be allowed to come to Thailand, and we will bring all Thai people out from Cambodia,” Thaksin said.

Defence Minister Gen Thamarak Isarankura has ordered all ThaiCambodia border checkpoints closed and all Cambodian “workers and beggars” to be sent back.

“I told the police to round them up and dump them at the border,” Thamarak said.

He said the thousands of Cambodian traders and smallscale merchants who cross the border checkpoint every day in eastern Thailand had been turned away.

In Pattaya yesterday immigration police rounded up about 250 Cambodian fishermen, working on Thai vessels, for deportation.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow said Cambodian Ambassador Ung Sean had been summoned yester?day to receive a strongly worded aidememoire that stated the envoy should be recalled within 24 hours for his own safety.

He said the envoy’s departure meant Cambodia’s diplomatic representation to Thailand was effectively downgraded to the level of charge d’affaires.

Thaksin said Cambodia’s diplomatic downgrading would remain until Thailand received a satisfactory explanation and compensation.

Thailand has also recalled its ambassador to Phnom Penh, Chatchawed Chartsuwan, who on Wednesday escaped an angry mob of about 1,000 by climbing the embassy wall.

All ongoing technical and economic cooperation projects between the two governments, including a job skills training programme, had been suspended along with a joint cabinet meeting set down for Siam Reap in April, Sihasak said.

The ministry had also briefed diplomatic representatives in Bangkok, including officials from China, Japan, South Korea and Australia, he said. Thailand would handle the issue on a bilateral basis, he added.

The ministry has set up a 24hour centre to monitor the situation in Cambodia. People with concerns about relatives in Cambodia can contact the centre on 02 6435262, or fax 02 6435256.

The Nation, Agencies

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