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Thai FM takes tour of P Vihear border

Cambodian officials welcomed Thailand's foreign minister, Kasit Piromya, to the disputed border zone around Preah Vihear temple Sunday, even as reports from Bangkok suggested some in Thailand were calling for condemnation of Cambodia's claims over the area.

Kasit on Sunday visited his country's troops stationed near the temple, as well as the monument itself and the nearby Keo Sekha Kirisvara pagoda, a Cambodian Defence Ministry spokesman told the Post.

"They asked for an official visit, and we welcomed them officially," said Chhum Socheat. "This is to show the good achievement of our government in resolving the border dispute with Thailand."

Chhum Socheat said Kasit had promised he would urge his parliament to approve a border demarcation with Cambodia soon and would order Thai soldiers not to cause any violence against Cambodian troops.

Srey Doek, commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Force's 3rd Division, said: "We took [the minister] and his delegation to see a burned market and new stalls built for people to sell goods," Srey Doek said. "We told him this market was burned down by Thai soldiers' rockets."

According to Thai media reports, 10 academics from the Thailand's People's Alliance for Democracy have asked the Thai Civil Court to rule that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Thailand.

A spokesman for Cambodia's Council of Ministers, however, scoffed at the suggestion.

"We do not need to respond to them," said Phay Siphan.

"Just let the Joint Border Commission of both countries do its work."

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