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Govt 'rejects' Thai Web site

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs voices its anger over Web video.

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to send a diplomatic note to Thai officials this week voicing its disapproval of a Web site launched by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that claims parts of Cambodia as "lost" Thai territory.

Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Sunday that officials had decided to "reject" the Web site, which launched July 4, and would send the note "early this week".

The site, www.ilovethailand.org, features a video that includes a green map of the Siamese Empire at its most expansive. As images of Thai kings appear on the screen, sections of the empire turn dark red before they are removed from the map.

Sections lost to Cambodia include parts of Siem Reap and Battambang provinces as well as the land on which Preah Vihear temple sits.

Towards the end of the five-and-a-half minute clip, a narrator addresses "the talented people of the young Thai generation" and emphasises the importance of understanding their country's history.

But Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Thursday that the video was actually "twisting the facts of history".

And government officials are not the only ones to have criticised the video.

Michel Tranet, a Cambodia historian and lecturer, said Sunday that the video was "absolutely wrong".

He argued that Thailand had violated Cambodia's sovereignty far more often than the reverse, saying: "The Thai historians themselves and the internationals know that Thailand has regularly ventured into Cambodian ancestral territory."

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said the Thai government was being dishonest in its presentation of Thailand's past actions towards Cambodia.

"If we actually look at history, today's Thailand was the Khmer Kingdom's territory before," he said.

Thai Embassy officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

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