Hun Sen warns of border fight, criticises Kasit


By: Bangkok Post
Published: 1/04/2009 at 07:13 AM

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned Thailand it will face resistance if its troops again cross their disputed border.

Hun Sen made the remarks on Tuesday, a week after Cambodian officials said about 100 Thai troops briefly entered contested territory near the ancient Preah Vihear temple where a deadly gun battle broke out last year.

“I tell you first, if you enter [Cambodian territory] again, we will fight,” Hun Sen said at a ceremony to open a road named after him in the seaside resort of Sihanoukville.

“The troops at the border have already received the order.

“I am the leader of Cambodia who was elected by the will of the people, not by robbing power,” he said, in an apparent reference to Thailand’s current political instability.

Hun Sen also told his audience that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will visit Cambodia on April 18, but blasted Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya for allegedly insulting him.

“He insults me – he has called me a gangster,” he said of the foreign minister.

“What would you say if I insulted your prime minister and your ancestors? I’m not angry with you, but please use dignified words.”

Tensions over the long-disputed territory flared in July last year after the 11th century temple was granted United Nations world heritage status. Soldiers clashed in the area in October, leaving four troops dead.

Subsequent talks between Cambodia and Thailand have not resolved the border dispute.

Thai officials deny that any of their troops crossed the border last week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said the ministry had not received an official report on Hun Sen’s speech, but said there had been a “misinterpretation” of earlier comments made by Mr Kasit regarding Hun Sen.

“Thailand wants to avoid using force and supports using border mechanisms to solve problems,” Mr Tharit said.

“The border mechanism is working well.”


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