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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fighting proves bad business for Thais

Fighting proves bad business for Thais

Lingering diplomacy has finally given way to military action. The Royal Cambodian

government is attempting to reclaim areas illegally held by the Khmer Rouge.

Anlung Veng is a first priority before an assault on Pailin. The offensive also appears

to be proving King Norodom Sihanouk's recent warning of government action against

the "terrible guys" of the Khmer Rouge.

"We want the Khmer Rouge to realize the circumstances that they have to abide

by," warned Maj Gen Him Sien, deputy commander of 286 division in Samrong.

"What Khieu Samphan wants is unacceptable to the government," he added.

Thailand, trying to parry allegations about its involvement in the Cambodian conflict,

finally moved to recognize the Royal government.

They also decided to dissolve Task Force 838, the border unit used for shipping arms

to the KR and ensuring security for their shadowy leader, Pol Pot.

Even so, these steps are unlikely to help save Thailand from its bad image problems.

Outrage and denial have been the Thai response to allegations that it provided tanks

and anti-aircraft guns to the KR and allowed them to attack O'Smach from Thai soil.

Thailand's apparent policy guidelines from the top appear to have little effect on

some circles of its military, especially among border army officers interested in

cross-border trade with the guerrillas. One government commander in O'Smach could

barely hold back his disgust of the Thais and described their generals as "nasty-minded


In Phnom Penh, a source inside the government remarked on Thai behavior towards its

neighboring countries in general, not only Cambodia.

"Instead of giving us lessons about how to fight the Khmer Rouge and about poor

intelligence, Thailand would do better to improve its relations with its neighboring

countries," said the source.

"The prestige of Thailand has been affected by many problems like border demarcation,

business deals, fishing problems, supporting insurgencies and the behavior of Thai

businessmen," he added.

"Countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia see Thai businessmen as "hawks"

because they are only interested in short-term benefits," the same source saidm

referring to the latest scandal in Battambang where locals were allegedly cheated

by Thai investors.

"So, Thailand should address these problems instead of acting like a 'godfather'.

We know too well Thailand's policy and its leaders," the same source said.

"Any country who interferes in the internal affairs of Cambodia will have to

bear the consequences," the source warned.



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