Google says used ICJ ruling for map changes

Google used a 1962 ruling by the International Court of Justice, which awarded Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia, to make recent changes to the Thai-Cambodia borderline on its online mapping service, the Internet giant said in a statement.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate maps available, we have made improvements to the boundary data in Google Earth and Maps,” according to the statement issued late Monday evening. “As part of this update, we have revised the boundary in this area to conform to the 1962 ruling by the International Court of Justice regarding the area of the Preah Vihear temple.”

On June 15, 1962 the International Court of Justice ruled that Preah Vihear temple was situated on Cambodian soil.

“Due to ongoing disagreements between Cambodia and Thailand, we depict the boundary near the temple as disputed,” the statement added.

The Cambodian government submitted a complaint to Google in February because the international borderline on its maps cut through the middle of the 11th-century Hindu sanctuary. The California-based Google last week announced changes to maps in more than 60 countries.

A recent look at the Thai-Cambodia border on Google Maps showed Preah Vihear temple within Cambodian territory. Part of the borderline near the temple is dotted, apparently to suggest the dispute with Thailand, which contests a 4.6-square-km piece of land near the temple.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was unsatisfied yesterday when told of the changes, saying the ICJ ruling leaves no room for dispute.

“The map the ICJ took into account [in its 1962 ruling] had a clear boundary,” he said.

“Google on this issue is biased for the Thai,” he added.


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