Official Calls for Gov’t Action Over Thai Map

A Cambodian tourism official, up­­set over a Thai map that locates Preah Vihear temple in Thailand, said Wednesday that he is waiting to hear from the Foreign Ministry whether the government plans to raise the matter with its Thai counterparts.

“Such a map encourages Thais to believe that Cambodia stole the tem­ple,” said Moeung Son, president of the National Association of Tour­ism Enterprises and the own­er of the Eurasie Phnom Penh Tra­vel agency.

“It could cause foreign tourists to mis­understand. Actually, it is our Cam­bodian temple, and the government should take immediate ac­tion,” he said.

The map, printed in Thailand in the Thai and English languages, seems to have been produced by the Thai government, Moeung Son said.

Thai Embassy Second Secretary Songchai Chaipatiyut, however, de­­­nied this.

“I have not seen the map yet, but I do not think that it states that Preah Vihear temple is in Thai­land. It does not mean that Preah Vi­hear is located in Thailand,” he said.

He added that there are many private companies in Thailand that pro­­duce tourist maps. He also noted that the Thai name for the temple, Phra Viharn, is similar to the Khmer name and could have caused confusion.

Moeung Son provided a copy of the map and said he recently sent a let­ter to Foreign Minister Hor Nam­­hong on the issue. Khieu Tha­­vika, an undersecretary of state at the ministry, declined to comment on Thursday.

But Long Simon, also an under­se­cretary of state at the Foreign Min­istry, said he be­lieves that the gov­ernment should take up the is­sue.

“It is a funny story. It is not correct that the temple should be shown to be in Thailand,” he said.

A 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice handed Cambodia control of the temple. The ruling ended several years of dispute during which Thai soldiers occupied the temple.

Preah Vihear’s construction be­gan in the 9th century during the Ang­ko­­r­ian era, and lasted over 300 years.


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