Experts Convene 2nd Council on Preah Vihear Temple

The International Coordinating Committee (ICC) for Preah Vihear held its second meeting in Siem Reap City on Monday to discuss ongoing efforts to preserve the 12th century Hindu temple and turn the majestic but remote site into a popular tourist destination.

At Cambodia’s request, Unesco established an ICC for Preah Vihear in 2014 with expert advisers from eight other countries, including co-chairs China and India, and convened the first meeting in December of that year.

Preah Vihear Temple in 2010 (William Brehm/Creative Commons)
Preah Vihear Temple in 2010 (William Brehm/Creative Commons)

Kong Puthikar, director-general of Cambodia’s National Authority for Preah Vihear, said about 200 people attended Monday’s meeting and discussed several topics, including a map of the most urgently needed repairs, the latest conservation and archaeological work at the site, and ongoing efforts to attract more tourists.

The other members of the committee are Belgium, France, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the U.S. Preah Vihear was added to the World Heritage List in 2008 despite stiff protest from Thailand, which has claimed both the border-hugging temple and the land around the site as its own.

The stonework was subsequently damaged by bullets and rocket fire during several rounds of deadly fighting between Thai and Cambodian troops.

The International Court of Justice established a demilitarized zone around the temple in 2013 and ordered both countries to pull their soldiers out.

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