A bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has been confirmed for Friday in Beijing, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said.
“Officially, I don’t know exactly [what the agenda will be],” Koy Kuong said Tuesday. “I just think that it is about the border issues,” he said.
The meeting of premiers will take place a day after a scheduled meeting of Thai and Cambodian regional military commanders in Siem Reap on Thursday.
RCAF Military Region 4 Commander Chea Morn said he would lead the Cambodian delegation. RCAF General Neang Phat, who is also a secretary of state at the Ministry of Defense, said he would also attend the Siem Reap meeting.
On Tuesday morning, Neang Phat spoke at a ceremony to honor the three Cambodian soldiers killed in fighting with Thai forces on Oct 15 near Preah Vihear temple.
“[The meeting] could bring fruitful results because what we want is peace,” said Neang Phat, presiding over a Buddhist ceremony at Wat Botum Vetei in Phnom Penh, attended by 100 journalists and artists.
But he also used strong language to condemn the Thai presence in disputed areas on the border.
“Thais aimed to invade our country,” Neang Phat said, calling the military standoff an “out of date” confrontation.
“We need to keep our dignity; we don’t want to fight with…bad Thai troops,” he said, adding that negotiations would continue, but that Cambodia had limited patience and would respond to any provocations.
The border dispute claimed another victim Tuesday as Thai and international media reported the first Thai death as a result of the Oct 15 clash.
The deceased Thai soldier was identified as Boonyarit Khanti, 40, who was being treated for a shrapnel wound to the head, Agence France-Presse reported.
“He died [Tuesday morning] from sudden kidney failure, which was one of the complications,” a doctor from a hospital in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province told AFP.
Thai officials could not be reached for confirmation.
Thailand has officially recognized seven Thai soldiers as injured in the fighting.
Meanwhile, in Oddar Meanchey province, Phan Neuy, provincial RCAF deputy commander stationed at the border village of Chhup Kaki in Banteay Ampil district, said that Thai troops have strengthened their position near the village and dug combat trenches.
Officials also repeated claims that Thai troops have located a camp at nearby Chhup Tralok.
“Chhup Tralok is in Cambodia, and Thai troops think it is in the neutral area; and they stationed and built 11 cottages there since June and did not allow Cambodian troops to patrol or get there,” Banteay Ampil District Deputy Governor Chap Phat said.
Phan Neuy and Oddar Meanchey Provincial Governor Pich Sokhin confirmed the presence of the Thai camp in the district.
Chea Morn said he received reports Tuesday of a Thai Air Force fighter jet flying along the border near Preah Vihear temple.
RCAF Region 4 Secretary-General of Staff Nark Vong, who is stationed at the disputed Ta Moan temple in Oddar Meanchey, also reported a Thai jet flying three times over the border in his area of operations.
Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement Tuesday evening, claiming that RCAF had sent seven armed troops Saturday into the Trimuk Pavilion, the undemarcated area where the borders of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos meet.
The statement called for Cambodia to withdraw the troops.
“The Thai side expressed its concern over the unnecessary tension caused by such deployment of troops by Cambodia into [a] boundary [area that] is yet to be demarcated and still subject to tripartite negotiation among Thailand, Cambodia and Laos,” the statement read.
(Additional reporting by Isabelle Roughol)