Borders Link and Borders Separate – Sunday, 4.7.2010

Posted on 7 July 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 671 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 671

The Mirror carries regularly reports about incidents considered to be border violations, but much more frequently information about smuggling. Some people are caught and sent to court; the border with Thailand has been beyond regular control, so that finally an attempt had to be made that even a large number of illegal border crossings had to be brought under control, as The Mirror had reported on 10 June 2010, from which we quote again:

Illegal border entries closed in crackdown

Between 30 and 40 illegal border crossings in Banteay Meanchey province have been closed in an attempt to curb the smuggling of pigs, gas, petrol, fruits and expired perishable foods from Thailand to Cambodia, provincial officials said Wednesday.

“We have closed more than 30 illegal border crossing points along the border with Thailand to stop smuggling, and this closure is forever,” Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Im Phoansophal said…

He declined to provide any figures supporting this claim, though he accused local businessmen of resorting to smuggling in order to evade taxes.

“Businessmen have always used these illegal crossing points to smuggle their goods. They prefer to do things this way because they don’t want to pay tax on items, and they think it will cost less to just bribe local officials,” he said.

Obviously, these 30 to 40 border crossings had been used regularly and formally – though illegally – for some time, before there was an effort made to put this chaotic situation to an end. This surely does not mean that there is no illegal border crossing going on any longer at the Cambodian-Thai border, which extends for about 800 kilometers, for long stretches through forested areas.

When a Thai newspaper published a report, saying that Thai anti-government activists, suspected of having been involved in the bombing of a building in Thailand during the recent violent confrontations in Bangkok, had entered Cambodia, Cambodian government officials quickly denied this and accused the Thai government and the Thai media of making false accusations against Cambodia.

The Phnom Penh Post reported on 29 and 30 June 2010:

In a statement issued Monday, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers said there was no evidence the men had entered Cambodia. The statement also called on the Thai government to end what it described as a “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia…”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Monday that the allegations were “stupid.”

“Cambodia completely denies this kind of provocative information,” he said…

In addition to arguing that there was no evidence that the two fugitives were in Cambodia, the Council of Ministers statement called on the Thai government to end its “malicious campaign to fault Cambodia,” and accused it of “fanning acts of provocation against the Kingdom of Cambodia.” …

But Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,… also said the names of the two fugitives cited in the report on Monday – Warisaya and Kobchai – had not appeared on registration lists at the border.

“The border always registers people when they cross the border, and the two names mentioned as suspects were not on that list,” he said. “They raise incorrect information. When Thailand has problems, they blame Cambodia.”

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information,” he said.

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

These official and massive Cambodian denials – assuming that nobody could have crossed the border without having their names registered in an official border crossing list – were combined with accusations against the Thai government and media, requesting “they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

This war of words was accompanied by the forwarding of a document by the Spokesman and Deputy Director for Press Department of the Office of the Council of Ministers, the Press and Quick Reaction Unit – a document written by Pen Ngoeun, an Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers, representing “only the personal opinion of the writer, and does not reflect under any shape and form the opinion of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit nor that of the Office of the Council of Ministers.” In spite of this disclaimer, it is interesting that this long document was widely published at this time and with this background, asking: WILL THAILAND’S ENMITY TOWARDS CAMBODIA END.

This long document is accusing that Thailand, since 150 years, has taken a negative attitude against Cambodia. “This writing is not a piece about history, but as far back as the eyes can see, the Kingdom of Thailand has kept its enmity towards Cambodia,” which is similar to “the current state of mind of the government of Abhisit Vijjajeva, with ‘former terrorist’ turned foreign minister Kasit Pyromya, and the malicious and machiavellic [deputy prime minister] Suthep Thaugsuban at his sides…” This negative attitude was also the cause which made Cambodia to entrust its destiny to French colonial rule. “Thailand always acts like a hungry mad dog that missed a good piece of meat and had never stopped dreaming about it, since.”

“Finally, Thailand has made official, its territorial ambition on Cambodian territories in 2007 in Christchurch, New Zealand during the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee by presenting for the first time to such an important international gathering a map dressed up unilaterally and secretly by Thailand and thus laying claim on an area of 4.6 km sq. inside the Cambodian territory near the Temple of Preah Vihear, as an objection of various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List.

Would Thailand wake up from the bad dream of a hungry mad dog? It had to be decided by Thailand. It had nothing to do with Cambodia.”

It is appropriate to say that not only persons in positions of political leadership will have to find ways to help to establish good neighborly relations. This will also be necessary in Cambodia, not only by using a different type of language, but also by seeing some facts, not published in Cambodia and therefore hardly seen, and therefore also not considered in Cambodia.

What this Advisor to the Office of the Council of Ministers and member of the Advisory Board of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit of the Office of the Council of Ministers calls “various uncoordinated, confusing, illegitimate, and nonsense motives to the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List” related to the contested 4.6 square kilometers around the Temple of Preah Vihear, is described with quite different words in a document, based on a meeting at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on 18 June 2008, inscribing the Temple “without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple” – “without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary.” The related map, superseding the maps formerly presented in Cambodia’s nomination file, signed by the chairperson of the Border Committee of Cambodia Var Kim Hong at the same time, is here:

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Cambodian map around Preah Vihear Temple

Joint Communique

The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:

  1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.
  2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.
  3. The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;
  4. Pending the results of the work of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) concerning the northern and western areas surrounding the Temple of Preah Vihear, which are identified as N. 3 in the map mentioned in paragraph 1 above, the management plan of these areas will be prepared in a concerted manner between the Cambodian and Thai authorities in conformity with the international conservation standards with a view to maintain the outstanding universal value of the property. Such management plan will be included in the final management plan for the Temple and its surrounding areas to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre by 1st February 2010 for the consideration of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010;
  5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries…

Finally, after, and in spite of all the strong denials and accusations, the two Thai bombing suspects, Kobchai Boonplod and Varisareeya Boonsom, were arrested in Cambodia and handed over to Thai authorities.

We recall:

“If Thailand denies that they have accused Cambodia, then they should make corrections in all their media that have published such false information.”

“I think this is a play from the Thai government officials, who speak out without taking responsibility for their comments.”

Will this now – with reversed roles – be considered and implemented in Cambodia?

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Eliminating Illegal Settlements – Monday, 31.5.2010

Posted on 1 June 2010. Filed under: Week 667 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 667

“On Friday the Council of Ministers approved a circular for dealing with illegal settlements on state land.

“The spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Phay Siphan, said on Sunday, ‘The circular will help citizens and the government to eliminate anarchic settlements on state land in populated areas, in cities, and at public places [like parks, pedestrian lanes, etc.]. In the future we will eradicate illegal settlements at public places.’

“The circular aims at resolving problems at temporary settlements, also called anarchic constructions, that are built on state land, which results in the loss of road space for traveling, or there is no sanitation. The circular advises the local authorities to provide data about the actual number of such illegal settlements and the number of families, producing plans of these anarchic constructions in order to find solutions, to organize infrastructure and public services to support the life of the people.

“A legal expert of the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions [which works in 20 different countries around the world], Mr. Pen Sithorn, said that the new circular is not bad, but it depends on whether or not the implementation will involve also non-government organizations and the affected communities. He said, ‘The circular says it depends on the government what kind of participation from different sides they will allow.’

Note:

Additional information from the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions:

“A senior official of the Cambodia Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Chan Soveth, said on Sunday that the circular is good, but its enforcement is not as good as the contents stated in the circular, which makes people live in ever worse conditions. He added, ‘The government evicts people and accepts coordination from the authorities. They confiscate people’s land and deliver it to the rich and to companies, providing little compensation to people. Thousands of citizens have been affected by the policy of the government to force citizens to move to remote areas.’ He went on to say that even though citizens are living on state land, they have been living there for years before the land law was approved. Therefore, they should be offered solutions through the provision of new areas with proper living conditions.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #142, 31.5.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 31 May 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #4, 30-31.5.2010

  • A Car Loaded with Paddy Rice Was Intercepted – there Were More Than 800 Kilogram of Turtles Hidden in It, to Be Exported to Vietnam [Kandal]
  • Disputes [through the exchange of statements quoted in the press] between [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit and [ousted and fugitive prime minister] Thaksin Creates Political Tension in Siam [Thailand]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2262, 30-31.5.2010

  • The Thai Authorities Released [207] Khmer Citizens Who Had Been Accused of Possessing Explosive Materials
  • Construction Workers on the Bokor Mountain Had a Car Accident while Getting Ahead of another Car – Two Died and Twenty Eight Others Were Injured

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #773, 31.5.2010

  • Oknha Ly Say Kheang, a Big Trader Destroying the Forest, Appeared in Sihanoukville after Having Escaped from Arrest for a While [he was arrested in late March 2010 over illegal wood trading and keeping some in storage. He was spotted driving a luxury car and relaxing in Sihanoukville]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #669, 30-31.5.2010

  • The Ministry of Interior Allows a Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarian to Visit Ms. Meas Srey and Mr. Prum Chea [jailed for uprooting Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers in Svay Rieng]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6969, 31.5.2010

  • More Than 60 Persons [police, military police, soldiers, as well as a prosecutor, a commune chief and a village chief] Surrounded a Site where a Military Captain is Storing Luxury Grade Wood [seizing 922 pieces of wood, but the owner of the wood has not been arrested – Svay Rieng]
  • Cambodia Condemned the Persons Who Planted a Sea Mine [attacking a South Korean navy ship, killing 46 sailors] – They Cause Instability on the Korean Peninsular

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3893, 31.5.2010

  • Forced Evictions are against the Constitution and Cannot Be Legalized – Those Who Criticize This Should Not Be Stopped

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #142, 31.5.2010

  • Eliminating Illegal Settlements
  • The Authorities Seek to Arrest Citizens over a Land Dispute [with the Heng Development Company; two persons were arrested for inciting villagers go to protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s resident]
  • A US Company [Elixir Gaming Technologies] Received a License to Open a Casino in Takeo [this company plans to start constructing a casino late next year, spending US$8 to 10 million]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #51, 30-31.5.2010

  • An Environmental Officials: The Sesan Hydro Electric Dam II [planned to be constructed late next year] Will Not Flood Ratanakiri [but it might affect only four communes in Stung Treng]
  • Police Arrested a Man Who Raped His Three Step Daughters over a long Time [aged from 12 to 17 – Siem Reap]

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Hun Sen Wants Abhisit to Swear that His Whole Family Would Die in a Plane Crash if Siam Claims that It Does Not Encroach on Khmer Territory – Tuesday, 9.2.2010

Posted on 10 February 2010. Filed under: Week 651 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 651

“The Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr. Hun Sen, wants the Siamese [Thai] Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, to swear that his whole family would die in a plane crash if it is true that Siamese [Thai] troops are not invading Khmer territory. This he said in an angry speech, made during his trip to visit the Cambodian troops stationed at the Khmer Ta Moan Thom temple.

“Wearing a military uniform and Five-Star-General insignia during the three days of visiting troops and army commanders at the border region, yesterday, on 8 February 2010, Mr. Hun Sen did not show a smile like during the first day because of wrong publications in the Siamese press and [Thai Prime Minister] Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva’s irritating remarks.

“At 8:15 a.m. on 8 February 2010, nine helicopters, including one of Mr. Hun Sen and his wife, landed in an area close to the Ta Moan temple to visit troops of Battalion 422 and Brigade 42. During that visit, Siam [Thailand] immediately set up a satellite system to capture the activities and the speech of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“Mr. Hun Sen stated, using [rough] military words, as he always did when he previously criticized an English language newspaper in Siam, The Nation, ‘If you are stupid, do not be journalists that provide wrong information about this visit.’

“Relating to the Siamese troops stationed at the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, Mr. Hun Sen stated, ‘As long as you do not withdraw, I still call you ‘invading troops.’ – Mr. Hun Sen severely blasted Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva, saying, ‘Though you are criticized like that [like Prim Minister Hun Sen did criticize the Thai Prime Minister before], you do not agree to leave your office. My Five-Star-General insignia were given to me by the King, but not by the Thai King… I blasted you like this, whether it hurts or not – if you responded, I will add more… I would like to send a message to the Thai people that there was never any time where the Thai society was as fractioned as it is in your, Abhisit Vijjajiva’s, era, and the foreign relations are so bad… You used the yellow-shirt demonstrators to help to make a coup [in September 2006. Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva became prime minister much later, in December 2008] and to control the airports…[Bangkok airports were occupied by demonstrators in November 2008]. I ordered the Council of Ministers as well as the Quick Response Team to record my speech properly and to translate it into English.’

“Mr. Hun Sen added his doubt whether Abhisit Vijjajiva would dare to swear that his whole family would die in a plane crash if he would deny that Siamese troops are invading Cambodia. Hun Sen said also that he is not only a militant, but also a creator of militants. He went on to say, ‘I hold the ID 00002, and not fake rank insignia, I would like to tell Abhisit Vijjajiva… you are stupid…You do not have family roots [a despising expression]… Does it disturb your head if I would wear a military uniform for my whole life?… Any clothes I wear, it should not disturb Abhisit Vijjajiva’s head… I wear the Five-Star-General insignia that the King gave me, not the ‘chicken egg-yolk stars’ of Abhisit Vijjajiva. It is not the first time that Hun Sen wears a military uniform. According to my biography, I am originally a militant. Please know Hun Sen well… It has been in 20 speeches that I did not attack you in response to what you said, but you always attack me. Therefore, I will attack you back. If tomorrow you attack me again, I will respond.’

“Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva became the prime minister after big demonstrations held by yellow-shirt demonstrators [supporters], whose color is like the color of chicken egg-yolk. Mr. Hun Sen’s words imply that his Five-Stars-General insignia are not from chicken egg-yolks, which simply means to say that the prime minister position of Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva is the result of the yellow-shirt demonstrators, with the color symbol like chicken egg-yolk.

“A high ranking official of the Sam Rainsy Party, Mr. Thach Setha, commented on Mr. Hun Sen’s speech, saying, ‘It is the personality and attitude of our Prime Minister that he frequently uses to attack his enemies. Thus, we are not surprised with his reaction.’

“A day ahead of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to the border region, there was also a war of words between Phnom Penh and Bangkok, where Siam declared that if Mr. Hun Sen intended to visit the 4.6 square kilometer [contested] area, he must discuss it with Thailand. But officials of the Cambodian government responded that the area is located in Khmer territory, and it is not necessary to discuss it with Siam to visit this area. Anyway, according to published images and to broadcasts of his activities in the local press and in television, Mr. Hun Sen seems not to have appeared inside of the 4.6 [contested] square kilometers.

“But an official of the Council of Ministers had been quoted by a foreign newspaper as saying that for Sunday, it was planned that Mr. Hun Sen would to visit some parts of the 4.6 square kilometer area.

“Based on previous speeches by Mr. Hun Sen and by government officials, Cambodia will not allow even one millimeter of the territory to get lost. But yesterday, Mr. Hun Sen stated repeatedly that Siamese troops encroach on Khmer territory, and he asked Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva whether he dares to swear that his family would die in a plane crash, if it were true what he claims: that Siamese troops do not invade Cambodian territory.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #601, 9.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #409, 9.2.2010

  • The Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Is Pleased with the Metfone Mobile Telephone System [owned by the Vietnamese military, as it provides good services nationwide compared with other telephone companies. He said that for security reasons, all the military division and brigades must be equipped with Metfone cable networks so as to prevent any leaking of secret or confidential military plans, because the Metfone cable network uses underground cables, while other companies use microwave links for long distance connections]
  • Vietnam Intends to Invest in the Stock Exchange, in Agriculture, and in Rural Development in Cambodia [according to a meeting between the president of the National Assembly of Cambodia and a delegation of Vietnamese companies]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2172, 9.2.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen: I Wear Military Uniform and It Should Not Disturb [Thai prime minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Head [reacting against Mr. Abhisit’s remarks saying that Mr. Hun Sen wears a military uniform during the visit at the Thai border for a political purpose]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #601, 9.2.2010

  • Hun Sen Wants Abhisit to Swear that His Whole Family Would Die in a Plane Crash if Siam Claims that It Does Not Encroach on Khmer Territory

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6879, 9.2.2010

  • Twenty Vietnamese Families Come to Hire Khmer Land to Raise Shrimps [and the local authorities do not care about them, especially about the immigration law; Kompong Trach, Kampot]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.4, #601, 9.2.2010

  • The Suppression on Drug Abuse and Smuggling in Poipet Is Not Effective [as these activities continue]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #106, 9.2.2010

  • There Is Food Provided for [more than 100] Street Children [by the Children’s Kitchen, a center that offers breakfast to orphans and poor children – Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh]
  • Cambodia Plans to Deliver Female Elephants to South Korea [for breeding – it is estimated that Cambodia still has 500 to 600 elephants roaming free]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5121, 9.2.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen: As Long As Thailand Does Not Withdraw from the Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak Pagoda, I Still Call You an Invader of Cambodia
  • The State Lacks Money for Investments while the Banks Have an Ample Amount of Money Remaining [each year the government lacks about US$190 million for public investments while private banks have about US$900 million remaining; the Minister of Economy and Commerce suggested that if those private banks would offer money for investments, it would greatly contribute to development]
  • While Watching Television in Their Home, a Man Was Shot Dead and Another One Was Injured by an Unknown Attacker [Svay Rieng]

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Cambodian-Thai Relations – Present and Former Prime Ministers – Sunday, 8.11.2009

Posted on 8 November 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 637 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

Returning to Cambodia, on the way to the airport in Bangkok on 6.11.2009, the driver of the taxi I took – as soon as he knew that I was going to Cambodia – spoke almost the whole way about his surprise and anger that the former Thai prime minister, who was convicted to go to prison for being implicated in big, illegally land dealings in the Ratchadapisek area of Bangkok, and who lied to the court when he left the country on bail “for some days only” but never came back, is now invited by the Cambodian Prime Minister to come to Cambodia as adviser to the government. “Are there no laws against corruption in Cambodia?” – Surely, another taxi driver might have had a different evaluation; but it was an impressive outburst of firm convictions.

In the meantime, various voices have called for moderation.

The ASEAN Secretary General is quoted to have written: “We in ASEAN cannot afford to be seen as being so seriously divided prior to the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders Meeting and the historic ASEAN-US Leaders Meeting in Singapore this month,” in a letter to the foreign ministers of the region.

Also, the Chinese People’s Daily Online reported the concerns made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, that the recent dispute between Thailand and Cambodia is not good for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “It is not good for ASEAN. We hope that both our friends will keep the larger interest of ASEAN in mind and find a way to resolve their differences quickly in a spirit of good neighborliness.”

The Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio said Japan was ‘concerned’ about the recent tensions between Cambodia and Thailand because Phnom Penh had offered a position to a fugitive Thai citizen. “I am concerned about the recent situation,” Mr. Hatoyama told Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to a Japanese official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Cambodian official voices have rejected the opinion, expressed widely in Thai media, that the appointment of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra is an intervention into the internal affairs of Thailand and an insult to the legal system of Thailand, stressing that Cambodia is a sovereign state and does not have to ask for the permission of another country when inviting and appointing a foreign national.

The Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban agreed – partially – saying: “It’s Cambodia’s internal affair. But if we have evidence that Thaksin is in Cambodia, we will surely ask the Cambodian government to extradite him,” according to the extradition agreement between the two countries.

In the meantime, it had been reported that Mr. Thaksin, who used to live in Dubai in self-selected exile, has been flying, in his private jet, with a diplomatic passport of Nicaragua, to different countries in the Pacific, in search of the possibility to set up his presence in a country that does not have an extradition treaty with Thailand; he is reported to have been in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, and Vanuatu. It was also reported that he narrowly avoided arrest during a stopover in Malaysia.

While the Cambodian Prime Minister invited the former Thai Prime Minister as his “eternal friend” and does not recognize the convictions for corruption pronounced by Thai courts, and therefore will reject to live up to the clauses of the bilateral extradition treaty, legal complications have been recognized by other countries, since Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra is recognized as a fugitive by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), with an Interpol “red notice,” which, in a number of countries, serves as a legal basis for arrest. Cambodia is a proud member of Interpol already since 1956, shortly after the 1953 independence from France, and there have been several cases of international Interpol actions, with Cambodian cooperation, also in 2009.

The future is unclear. While writing these lines, the two following reports from the Japanese news agency Kyodo came in:

Thai premier urges Hun Sen to behave as ‘good neighbor’

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva urged Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday to behave like a ”good neighbor” and reconsider his appointment of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser

Thaksin to give economics lecture in Phnom Penh on Thursday

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Sunday that ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will visit Cambodia to give a lecture on economic matters in Phnom Penh on Thursday

.

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Bangkok Got Angry and Downgraded the Cambodian-Thai Diplomatic Relations to the Lowest Level – Friday, 6.11.2009

Posted on 7 November 2009. Filed under: Week 637 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 637

“Immediately after the Cambodian government appointed Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra as Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s and the government’s adviser, Bangkok was angry and summoned its ambassador back to Thailand as a so-called diplomatic retaliation. The Thai ambassador left Cambodia in the night of 5 November 2009. In response, the Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, summoned the Cambodian ambassador to return to Phnom Penh. He considers that this is a normal reciprocity measure between government and government. Regarding this diplomatic dispute, there has not been any new report about border tensions between the two countries.

“Relating to Thailand recalling its ambassador, Mr. Sok An said that this is not the cutting off of diplomatic ties. When Thailand sends its ambassador to Cambodia again, we will send our ambassador to Thailand. He explained that there is no problem in the relations between both countries’ citizens and in commerce.

“He noted that Thailand did so, following a demand from the yellow-shirt group [of government supporters].

“He explained also that it is an internal affairs of Cambodia to nominate Thaksin Shinawatra, and Cambodia had appointed foreigners as advisers before, for example the current president of South Korea. He had also been an adviser of Samdech Dekchor.

“He criticized that Thailand has hurt Cambodia by sending troops to invade the Preah Vihear border areas in Cambodian territory. The second point is that when Cambodia proposed to list the Preah Vihear Temple as a world heritage site, Thailand had sent partisans to disturb it.

“Contrastingly, [Thai] Deputy Prime Minister Sutheb Thaugsuban asked, ‘What would Cambodia think if Thailand nominated [the opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy as adviser?’ Mr. Sok An answered, ‘Cambodia would welcome such a nomination, because Cambodia has a citizen appointed by foreign country. Therefore, Thai people should be happy as one of their citizens is named adviser.’

“The decision of the Bangkok government to summon their diplomatic official like this, pushed the diplomatic ties between both countries to fall to a terrible level, threatening even political, economic, and cultural relation between both countries, as well as the solidarity in ASEAN.

“Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva said that Thailand summoned their ambassador back to Bangkok as a sign of first diplomatic retaliation toward Cambodia for appointing Thaksin Shinawara as adviser, and for rejecting to extradite him. He said that Thailand wants Cambodia to know the dissatisfaction of the Thai people.

“Immigration officials at the Phnom Penh International Airport said that the Thai ambassador boarded the plane at around 9:00 p.m. to travel back to Bangkok.

“Political analysts said that the decision of the Bangkok government will make ASEAN to be viewed as a quite fractioned institution, making the initative to establish the ASEAN community by 2015 to be in hazard, and it is necessary that there is a regional mechanism to restore the situation.

Cambodian Troops Are Prepared to Defend the Country from an Invasion

“At the border, the commander of special Intervention Unit 3, Mr. Srey Dek, said that the Cambodian troops are always on alert. He added, ‘If they dare to enter only half a millimeter, we will attack (open fire) immediately. But he said that so far, there is nothing abnormal.

“The Banteay Meanchey governor, Mr. Ung Oeung, said that the border situation remains normal. But there might be some psychological war coming relating to border closings. But there is nothing visible yet.

Thaksin Is Happy while Abhisit Is Pale

“The Thai former prime minister, Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, said on Thursday that he accepted the position as economic adviser of the Royal Government of Cambodia, and he expressed appreciation toward Prime Minister Hun Sen for offering this honorable position. He said on his website, ‘I can refresh my brain while I am not yet able to serve the Thai people. I will ask for the permission from Thai people to provide economic advice to the Cambodian government, based on the appointment by King Sihamoni, until I can go back to my country. In fact, I have already become adviser of a government. I accept this position in order to keep my brain to remain fresh, otherwise it would become lame if I don’t keep it up to obtain new ideas and new developments. I want to work with the Thai people, but I cannot. The Thai government does not even allow me to carry a Thai passport.’

“Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra added, ‘Our neighbor is not an enemy. We must be close to each other forever. It is good that we are friends.’

“In the mean time, a legal adviser of Mr. Thaksin, [the former minister of foreign affairs who resigned after the high court found he had violated the Thai constitution] Mr. Noppadon Pattama, spoke to the former prime minister, regarding the issue that Thaksin Shinawatra feels that he has received a great honor, and he will provide advice on how to solve Cambodia’s economic problems and overcome poverty.

“Mr. Noppadon Pattama added that it is not necessary that Mr. Thaksin comes to live in Cambodia, because he can give advice through the telephone or the Internet. He said, ‘Thaksin Shinawatra has no plan to go to Cambodia at this time. Therefore, the government needs not worry or feel afraid, because it is not a political affair or seeking asylum. Mr. Hun Sen decided to appoint Thaksin, because he sees his value and ability.’

“Nevertheless, Thailand does not understand it as Mr. Noppadon does. On 5 November 2009, Thailand summoned their ambassador back to their country immediately as a move of disapproval of Cambodia for offering a position to Thaksin.

“The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vijjajiva said to journalist, ‘We have summoned our ambassador as the first diplomatic retaliation toward the Cambodian government so as to let the Thai people’s dissatisfaction known. The announcement of the Cambodian governments disrespects the legal system, and does influence the feeling of the Thai public.

“Abhisit said also that [Thai] aid for Cambodia will be suspended also, but the border between both countries are still open, and the relations between the people will not be affected.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5040, 6.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 November 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2091, 6.11.2009

  • Cambodia and Thailand Decided to Downgrade Their Diplomatic Ties; [the Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Thanks Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen after He Was Nominated Adviser
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Will Attract More Japanese Investors to Cambodia [during his visit to attend the Mekong-Japan summit in Tokyo on 6 and 7 November 2009]
  • Sihanoukville Governor, Mr. Sbang Sarath Was Accused because of Illegal Constructions

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #523, 6.11.2009

  • The Khmer Government Rejected the Demand of Siam [Thailand] to Control Two Thirds of Seabed Mineral Resources
  • The Sam Rainsy Party: The Prime Minister Does Not Deal with the Existing Internal Affairs of Cambodia, but Thinks about Siamese [Thai] Issues

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6798, 6.11.2009

  • The Thai Prime Minister [Mr. Abhisit Vijjajiva] Summoned the [Thai] Ambassador Back, to Leave Cambodia, and He Opposes Thaksin Shinawatra’s Nomination [as Prime Minister Hun Sen’s and the governments economic adviser]
  • The Appeal Court Will Hold a Hearing This Morning over the Acid Attack Case [where the actress In Soklida’s aunt was attacked]
  • [More than 200] Romorque Motos [and Tuk-Tuk] Drivers Protested in Front of the Municipality to Demand a Delay to Make Number Plates and to Fine Them
  • A Man like an Animal Raped Three Daughters Two Times Each [he was arrested – Sihanoukville]
  • Within More Than One Week, Four People Were Killed by Murderers [four perpetrators were arrested – Battambang]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #40, 6.11.2009

  • The Diplomatic War between Cambodia and Thailand Regarding Thaksin Shinawatra’s Case Leads to the Withdrawal of the Respective Ambassadors
  • The Government Explained the Increase of the Military Budget [from US$223 million in 2009 to US$277 million in 2010 to civil society organizations, saying that the budget will be used to strengthen the national defense capacity in order to improve the military sector in Cambodia; however, civil society representatives said that the government should address root problems in the military sector, rather than increase the budget]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Announced to Lodge Complaints [at international institutions, against neighboring countries] over the Loss of Territory

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5040, 6.11.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announced Places in 19 Cities and Provinces for Investigations over the Case 002 [involving five Khmer Rouge leaders: Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, Khieu Samphan, and Nuon Chea]
  • More Than 300 ATM Machines of Different Banks Have Been Set Up in Cambodia
  • Guards of Fishing Lot Number 10 Shot a Man to Death [two perpetrators were arrested and police is seeking to arrest another guard – Kampong Chhnang]
  • Wild Animals [67 turtles and 22 pythons] Loaded in a Car from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh Were Seized by Moung Russey District Police [the car driver was arrested – Battambang]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.
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