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Thailand, Cambodia: Border conflict intensifies

The border row between Thailand and Cambodia has intensified in the past week as both countries exchanged fires killing several soldiers on both fronts and forcing the evacuation of nearby villages near the border. The two Southeast Asian nations are claiming ownership of the historic Preah Vihear Temple.

Map from the blog of Life in Rural Thailand

thaicam tweets about the “idiocy of the situation”

RT @thaitvnews: 2 Buddhist countries fight for ruined Hindu civilization temple / which highlights the idiocy of the situation

Michael insists the border conflict is not really about the temple

Of course it’s not really about the temple. There are plenty of temples that could be taken care of before this one.

Such a convenient way to control what people are thinking about. And of course, such a convenient way to drum up support for a strong and well-equipped military, because in times where there is a threat of war, those who defend the motherland need all the support they can get.

Tharum Bun gathers blog and tweet reactions from Cambodia. Here’s one from Albeiro Rodas

As Khmer is oldest in the Indochina Peninsula than Thailand, at least as a political state, it is like Cambodia is Greece and Thailand is Italy. Cambodia is first and it is impossible to deny it. Thailand has been built over the Cambodian territory, history and culture. It does not mean that Thailand is not authentic or it is an invader, but Thai people should recognize it not in humilitation, but in brotherly afection.

Cambodia comes from suffering and got a strong spirit. The Thai leaders should wake to lucidity, suspend any agression and sit down with their Khmer brothers, as they are, to build peace and common development for their peoples.

Life in Rural Thailand hopes the conflict will end soon

It’s very disappointing as it is a magnificent place to visit. I am not a temple tourist at all but this place is something else due to it’s location on a cliff that is 525 metres high offering an amazing view over the plains of Cambodia

The actual temple is 45kms away from our village and the conflict has never caused any concern in the pat. This time however shells appear to be falling a long way away from the temple which is quite worrying.

Khon Kaen criticizes tourism officials in Thailand who seem to be not a bit worried about the impact of the border fighting on the tourism industry

The border fighting was not some little story buried on page 32 of local newspapers. It was on the front page of Fox news yesterday. And, if the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) Governor thinks that no one saw this or that no one will react negatively, he needs to have his head examined.

Many readers believe that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN should have done something to mediate and settle the issue. This was illustrated by Sacrava through a cartoon sketch that he posted on his website

Thai twitter users are using the hashtags #thaiborder and #thaikhmer to monitor the situation in the border. The Thai & Khmer People who Want Peace Facebook page was created by citizens who reject war. Here is one message from Topza Aung

Shame on cambodian and thai governments who are corrupted by greed, money, and power and trying to start over the war.

We the people of these two countries do not have any idea. We are so innocent but unconciously are just tools to create hatred toward each other because our governments lie and manipulate us through fake and made-up news/media.

Guys, keep in mind that, it's cambodian politics vs thai politics, not the two people of these two countries.

The Son of the Khmer Empire accuses Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of using the issue to improve his political image

This border war between Cambodia and Thailand has nothing to do with protecting Thai sovereignty but the political interests for a group of selfish and nationalism elite persons esp. the Democrats and its alliance. This war is motivated because Abhishit hopes:

- to make himself looks like a strongman and gains popularity for this war against Cambodia.
- to unite Thai people to continue to support his weak government and win the next election in April as he has already made an appeal to Thai people to unite for the war against Cambodian border recently.

The same blogger also accuses Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen of manipulating the issue to strengthen his leadership

- His popularity may gain
- People will forget about their economic hardship caused by his incompetent leadership,
- He will have the reason to buy more weapon and ask for more money for his personal soldiers,
- He hope to gain more vote and cling on to power for years to come.

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