Bilateral talks between Cambodia and Thailand ended yesterday, in the first set of official discussions to take place since Yingluck Shinawatra was elected Thai Prime Minister.
Although no official result had been recorded from the Regional Border Commission as of last night, according to Cambodia defence spokesman Chum Socheat, the Bangkok Post reported Thailand’s second Army Region Commander Thawatchai Samutsakorn as saying that both countries had agreed to step up security force cooperation along the border.
The Phnom Penh Post could not verify the report last night. But on the agenda of the meeting – which took place in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima province – were issues including illegal border crossings, logging, drugs trafficking and counter terrorism, Chum Socheat said.
Discussions on border conflict and troop withdrawal from a demilitarized zone – set up around Preah Vihear temple following a decision by the United Nations International Court of Justice last month – were not on the agenda but could not be ruled out, he added.
“We don’t know yet,” he said yesterday.
The RBC meeting was co-chaired by Thawatchai Samutsakhon and Cambodia’s Fourth Army Commander Chea Mon and follows Yingluck’s election earlier this month.
Her rise to power has resulted in warmer relations between the two nations, with top Cambodian officials entering discourse with their Thai counterparts after what Prime Minister Hun Sen called a “nightmare” period of relations under her predecessor Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Ties between the two Kingdoms are growing, and yesterday Thai newspaper The Nation reported that Yingluck said she would coordinate with agencies to help two Thai nationals now serving prison sentences in Cambodia for spying.
Veera Somkwamkid, a well-known activist within Thailand’s nationalist Yellow Shirt movement, and his associate Ratree Pipatanapaiboon are serving eight and six-year prison terms in Cambodia respectively,
Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdee could not be reached for comment yesterday while Cambodia’s Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith declined to comment on a potential pardon.
Koy Kuong, spokesman at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, could not be reached.