Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - S'pore minister says Asean can help solve Preah Vihear dispute

S'pore minister says Asean can help solve Preah Vihear dispute

S'pore minister says Asean can help solve Preah Vihear dispute

Asean secretary general says if the bloc is asked to help with the crisis, he will send a fact-finding mission to the disputed area.


Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said it was good that both sides had now chosen to talk to resolve the border issue. " [Cambodia and Thailand] are now finding ways to reduce tension between themselves through this bilateral arrangement."

SINGAPORE's foreign minister said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations stands ready to help Cambodia and Thailand resolve their long-running border dispute. George Yeo said the 10-member bloc remained concerned at tensions over the 800 kilometres of disputed border.

"Our concern is when these disputes escalate and erupt into violence, which was what happened in Preah Vihear last year," Yeo said, speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Singapore last week. "Right now, both sides are talking [but] I know Cambodia is not happy with the speed of progress."

"If Cambodia is aggrieved and wants to [refer the border issue] to Asean, Cambodia can do so," Yeo continued. He said border disputes were common, both between Asean members and around the world, and were best resolved through negotiations.

Troops from the two Asean member states clashed last year at the Preah Vihear temple complex amid escalating tensions that left several soldiers dead.

Both sides are talking [but] ... Cambodia is not happy with the speed of progress.

One of Asean's founding principles is respect for the territorial integrity of all member states. Article 2 of the Asean Charter states that member states must "respect ... the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all Asean member states" and push for the "peaceful settlement of disputes".
Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said if the regional body was asked to help resolve the issue, he would first send a fact-finding mission to the disputed area. But, he said, indications were that bilateral negotiations between the two nations seemed to be going well

Summit sidelines

Prime Minister Hun Sen confirmed Tuesday that he would attend the 14th Asean summit in Hua Hin, Thailand, and would meet bilaterally with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on February 27.

Hun Sen said the talks with his Thai counterpart would tackle more than simply the border dispute - they would also cover tourism, economic issues, investment and improved trade cooperation.

"The situation is now calming down between both sides," Surin Pitsuwan told a group of journalists touring Southeast Asia February 12. "[The two countries' leaders] will meet each other again during the 14th Asean summit, and I am sure both sides will discuss this further in the lobbies set aside for this kind of discussion."


  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • American ‘fugitive’ arrested in Cambodia outside of US Embassy

    An American citizen was arrested on request by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, according to Cambodian police. Major General Uk Hei Sela, chief of investigations at the Department of Immigration, identified the man as American Jan Sterling Hagen, and said he was

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which