Thailand has reportedly backpedalled on plans to demolish a miniature replica of Preah Vihear temple, with a deputy prime minister giving the nod to the controversial project near the Cambodian border.
The Bangkok Post reported on Monday that Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said that the 1-to-10 scale model which overlooks the original could be displayed as long as it remained in Thai territory.
The remarks were at odds with the Thai army’s previous statements that the replica should be scrapped to avoid tensions with Cambodia.
Between 2008 and 2011 skirmishes erupted amid a dispute over the temple’s ownership. The International Court of Justice subsequently awarded the ruins and their immediate vicinity to Cambodia, though a larger parcel of land nearby remains in dispute.
Yesterday, Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said the Thais could build within their borders, but the project “abused” the countries’ relationship and was “counterproductive” to resolving the ongoing dispute.
“It’s not good, this project; there’s no value, it does more bad . . . and it impacts the good relationship between the two countries,” Siphan said.