THE Cambodian embassy in Bangkok has rejected accusations from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs that repair work completed by Cambodian troops on monks’ quarters at a pagoda near Preah Vihear temple violated Thai sovereignty.
In a letter to the Thai foreign ministry dated Tuesday, the Cambodian embassy said the repair work had been conducted entirely within the territory of Cambodia, calling accusations to the contrary “fabrications”.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said Wednesday that the statement was prompted by a note sent last month by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Cambodian Embassy in Bangkok.
“They said that the repairs on the monks’ quarters at the pagoda were in their territory,” Koy Kuong said. “They stupidly accused us.”
The embassy’s letter followed a similar communiqué written last Friday, in which it denounced accusations that a construction project near the Ta Krabey temple in Oddar Meanchey province had impinged on Thai territory.
Srey Doek, commander of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Division 3 in Preah Vihear province, said repairs on the dilapidated dormitories at the Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak pagoda began about six months ago and took only a few days.
“Even Thai soldiers who have visited the pagoda and prayed with the monks there have recognised that the monks’ quarters are in disrepair,” Srey Doek said.
Thai troops have periodically occupied the pagoda since tensions erupted in the area in July 2008 over the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a Unesco World Heritage site for Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen mentioned this occupation in February as part of a tirade against the government of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
“Abhisit, will you swear on having all your family members be killed in a plane crash ... that your soldiers did not come to invade Cambodia at Wat Keo Sekha Kirisvarak?” Hun Sen said in a speech to troops in Oddar Meanchey province.
“Do you dare to swear on magic that could break your neck, on a plane crash or a dissolution of the countries, that your soldiers did not invade Cambodia’s territory on July 15, 2008?”
Officials at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not be reached for comment.