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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2525

Fighting broke out between Cambodia and Thailand

Bangkok, 15 October, ( Fighting has broken out between Cambodia and Thailand and sound of several gunshots were heard near the disputed area at Preah Vihear area along the Thai – Cambodia border in the Si Sa Ket Province around 2.45 PM Thailand time.

The area is in the heart of border tension between Thailand and Cambodia which was flared up after Cambodia's premier threatened to open war if Thai troops were not withdrawn from the area.
Both Thai and Cambodian troops were deployed along the border in Si Sa Ket following Hun Sen's threats. The Thai army vowed to retaliate if attacked.

Cambodia's commander Bun Thean told AFP, "Cambodian and Thai troops are opening fire at each other now."

In the meantime Thailand yesterday shrugged off Phnom Penh's ultimatum for its soldiers to leave disputed areas near the Preah Vihear temple and accused Cambodia of laying new landmines on the border.

The decision to maintain troop levels in readiness for a confrontation to defend the country was reached in talks between supreme commander Gen Songkitti Jakkabat, army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda, navy commander Adm Kamthon Phumhiran and air force chief ACM Ithaporn Supawong.

They met after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an ultimatum on Monday for Thailand to withdraw its troops by yesterday or risk a "large-scale armed conflict".

The spat is over a 4.6 sq km disputed area between Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket and the Preah Vihear temple.

"The military leaders insist the armed forces are prepared in terms of troop deployment in the areas, back-up forces and weapons capabilities to protect our sovereignty," army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said.

Col Sansern said the military was ready to evacuate Thai nationals in Cambodia, but any such decision would be made by the government.

The Foreign Ministry yesterday urged Thai travellers to Cambodia to closely monitor the situation and advised Thai nationals already there to contact the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh for advisory and situation updates.

Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat also sent a stern warning to Cambodia, saying: "If Cambodia does resort to the use of force in accordance with its so-called ultimatum, Thailand will exercise its right of self-defence to protect our de-mining personnel and Thailand's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

- Asian Tribune -

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