Media Says Thai Military Put Loudspeakers Along Disputed Border

The Thai military has set up loudspeakers near Preah Vihear temple to communicate with Cambodian soldiers on the opposite side of a disputed piece of borderland, the fate of which the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is scheduled to decide on November 11, according to Thai media.

The defense ministers of the two countries are also set to meet to discuss the pending judgment on Monday.

The Nation newspaper reported Thursday that Thai army commander General Prayuth Chanocha ordered the installation of the loudspeakers in 10 locations along the disputed border to ease tensions on the Cambodian side in case of “accidental” shooting on the Thai side ahead of the ruling.

“In case there are any accidental gunshots or a similar commotion on the Thai side, messages will be sent out to the Cambodian soldiers to explain to them before the two sides engage out of misunderstanding,” Thai Army Colonel Thanasak Mittraphanon was quoted as saying.

Thailand and Cambodia have fought several brief but deadly battles over the disputed area next to Preah Vihear temple, most recently in February 2011.

Two months later, Cambodia filed a case with the ICJ in The Hague asking it to settle the ownership dispute over the 4.6 square km plot of land for good.

Cambodian military commanders stationed along Preah Vihear province’s border with Thailand said Thursday that they knew nothing about the reported loudspeakers, however. Spokesmen for the Cambodian Defense Ministry and the Thai Army could not be reached.

In a related development, Cambodia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry announced Thursday that Foreign Minister Hor Namhong would meet with his Thai counterpart, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, on Monday in Poipet City.

A Foreign Affairs Ministry statement says the two sides would discuss the opening of new border checkpoints and “maintaining peace, security and stability along the border of the two countries.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong declined to elaborate on the statement. Var Kimhong, the Cambodian co-chair of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Committee, said he would be attending Monday’s meeting and that the ICJ case was on the tentative agenda.

“We will…study the possibility of the implementation of the ICJ decision, because we don’t know yet what the decision of the ICJ is,” he said.

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