The statement from Dr Surin Pitsuwan [that comments made following a Cambodian missile test on March 4 addressed not the test, but ongoing tensions along the Cambodian-Thai border], who is a Thai citizen, is biased and ignorant.
As a matter of fact, Surin has never acknowledged or expressed concerns about the problems along the Cambodian-Thai border. The Thai military has conducted exercises many times, during which they have crossed over into Cambodian territory or flown aircraft into Cambodian airspace. Rockets fired by Thai solders have landed in our territory as well, and Cambodian citizens have been shot or burned alive by Thai troops for illegally crossing the border or gathering timber.
These and other abuses by the Thai military continue, and Surin has neither mentioned nor expressed concern over the violations of Cambodian air space, territorial boundaries or human rights.
The recent rocket test was the first such military exercise since the civil war ended. It took place within Cambodian borders, and it did not send an improper message or suggest instability. Cambodia has the right to conduct such tests, just as every other country does. Prime Minister Hun Sen is within his right as leader to protect the territory and integrity of the Kingdom.
In addition, foreign media organizations failed to report accurately and with the necessary research on this issue, as they often favour Thai interests – especially reports from the nefarious Thai correspondents in Bangkok who feed the foreign press.
ASEAN policies and approaches are weak. It is only concerned with its own well-being and increasing trade between member states. The bloc stands by and does nothing while a stronger nation steps all over a weaker one. It fails to recognise Thailand’s aggression against Cambodia.
Thailand has a political agenda, and it uses the issue of Preah Vihear as a diversion whenever internal political power struggles erupt. Thailand also fails to recognise the legitimacy of the judgment of June 15, 1962, by the International Court of Justice [that the Preah Vihear temple complex belongs to Cambodia].
Jeffrey Serey Hola
Lancaster, California, USA
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