Thai, Cambodian Armies Pledge to Keep Peace

Thai and Cambodian military officials met at the base of Preah Vihear temple on Sunday to reaffirm their commitment to keeping the peace both before and after a pending U.N. court verdict that could decide the fate of a nearby stretch of disputed borderland.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is scheduled to pass judgment on the question of who owns a contested 4.6 square km of land next to the temple, over which Thailand and Cambodia have re­peatedly clashed, on November 11.

Both governments have pledged to refrain from violence whatever the court’s decision, and their military officials met at the temple to bolster those promises.

“It was a simple meeting that usually happens along the border and we wanted to repeat that our prime ministers cooperate with each other,” said Royal Cambo­dian Armed Forces deputy commander Lieutenant General Srey Doek, who, along with four other Cambodian officials, met with their Thai counterparts.

“We agreed on how both sides will cooperate and keep the peace at the border,” he added, declining to say what specific steps they agreed to take to make that happen or on precisely which side of the barbed-wire fence the two-hour meeting had taken place.

Cambodian officials have said they are taking no additional military precautions ahead of the ICJ announcement and Lt. Gen. Doek said Sunday that the temple would remain open to tourists from the Cambodian side as usual.

The Bangkok Post, however, reported Sunday that the Phra Viharn National Park—which offers visitors views of the temple from the Thai side of the border—would close indefinitely today to facilitate the unspecified work of Thai security officials.

The Thai and Cambodian foreign af­fairs ministers met in Poi­pet City a week ago also to ensure that the ICJ’s pending verdict does not spark a new round of fighting around the temple.

Cambodia filed the case with the court in The Hague in 2011 after the most recent deadly clashes over the disputed territory broke out that February.

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