Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Second Hand Daylight

The Thais and Cambodians had a duffy. Let's hope the Kings step in to sort this out.

Foreign Minister Sompong Amornvivat urged Thai nationals in Cambodia to leave for home immediately after a Wednesday afternoon military battle along the disputed border left two Cambodian soldiers dead.

"Thai businessmen who have no need to be in Cambodia now, please rush back to Thailand," Sompong told reporters.
"We have our evacuation plan ready," he added.
In the Northeast, officials told residents of the border to be ready to move out quickly in case hostilities resume and escalate.
Thai and Cambodian troops fired rockets and small arms at each other for about 10 minutes at the border of Kantalak district, Si Sa Ket province at around 2.30pm.

The incident reportedly occurred three kilometres from Phreah Vihear temple, and at the site of an Oct 3 clash which left two Thai soldiers and one Cambodian wounded. Thailand issued an official protest to the Cambodian government over that alleged border incursion.

Cambodian army commander Brig Gen Yim Pim said fighting had "paused" after the battle, as commanders tried to negotiate a cease-fire.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said the two countries' foreign ministers were talking. Both sides said they wanted a peaceful resolution. "Cambodia is a good neighbor. We will use peaceful means. If there is violence, we have to negotiate," he said.

Cambodia’s Preah Vihear governor Prieb Tan claimed that Thailand started shooting at the Cambodian army first. Thai army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, meanwhile, claimed that Cambodian soldiers started the shooting first by firing about seven to eight shots onto the Thai soil so Thai soldiers had to defend themselves by firing them back using small weapons.

According to Col Sansern, four Thai army rangers were wounded while one Cambodian soldier was killed in the incident.

On Tuesday, Col Sansern reiterated that Thailand would not shoot first, but warned that Thai troops were ready if Cambodian forces encroach into Thailand. The Thai army is ready to confront any incident to protect the country’s sovereignty, he said.

Meanwhile, Thailand put air force fighter jets and C-130 transport planes on alert. The C-130s have been used in a previous operation to bring Thais back home from Phnom Penh.

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