The unexplained cutting of a lock on a gate leading to the Preah Vihear temple by a group of Thai soldiers, police and civilians on Thursday will not impact the withdrawal of Cambodian troops from the disputed border, a commander from the region said yesterday.
General Srey Doek, commander of RCAF Intervention Division 3, said the Thai military had apologised for the incident, which happened about 12:30pm, and two Thai military officials had replaced the lock by 6:30am yesterday, though it was still unclear why the group had acted in the first place.
“There is no influence on Cambodian troop withdrawal. There is no tension between both sides,” Doek said.
Sporadic skirmishes occurred on the border between 2008 and 2011 after the long-disputed temple was listed as a Cambodian UNESCO site against Thailand’s wishes.
The RCAF is currently reducing the number of troops on the border in line with the 2013 ruling that gave Cambodia sovereignty over the 11-century temple and the surrounding promontory but still left a large area in dispute.