Thai troops have set up a new temporary camp along the border in Oddar Meanchey province’s Anlong Veng district, Cambodian military officials said yesterday, with one RCAF official calling the move an indication of a Thai military buildup.
RCAF Colonel Nhim Chhoeun said the contingent of Thai border rangers set up about 10 tents in the past four days. For the time being, the roughly 100 soldiers have remained in their encampment with little to no activity.
Mr Chhoeun said he did not know why the group has stationed itself just across from Kbal Ansorm village in Anlong Veng district’s Trapaing Brei commune, describing the move as “unusual.” He pointed to the arrival of the troops as part of a buildup, citing the fact that Thai forces had hardly come to the area in previous times of border tension.
“Our soldiers are getting more tense with them but if they build their Thai base we will banish it,” said Mr Chhoeun, who is stationed at Kbal Ansorm village.
On Sunday, Cambodian military officials confirmed its forces at the temple of Preah Vihear would receive additional shoulder-fired rockets and launchers and have dug more trenches in the area. However, RCAF commanders stationed at the temple said the situation was stable.
Brigadier General Nuon Nov, deputy commander of RCAF Region 4, said traffic continues to move along as usual at the international checkpoint in Anlong Veng, though authorities are monitoring the situation.
Relations between Thailand and Cambodia have deteriorated politically in recent months following Cambodia’s appointment of Thailand’s fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser in late October.
The promotion has rankled the current Thai administration with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya asserting his country would not return its ambassador to Phnom Penh until Mr Thaksin’s appointment is revoked. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen scoffed at that proposal last week by saying, “It’s been months that we’ve had no [Thai] embassy, so let there be no embassy.”