A crossing on the Thai border was briefly closed and then reopened on Saturday as officials from the Kingdom and their westerly neighbour debated the fate of a hen house.
The hen house in Oddar Meanchey province had been sitting on disputed land for more than 10 years, according to Khong Tin, chief of the O’Smach border checkpoint, but the argument erupted when Cambodian officials decided to repair the structure’s roof.
Small disputes like this are not infrequent along the 800-kilometre border between Cambodia and Thailand, about 40 per cent of which has yet to be demarcated. But experts say officials got better at resolving border disputes in the wake of clashes at Preah Vihear temple.
Greg Raymond, research associate at the Strategic and Defense Studies Center at the Australian National University, said the establishment of the joint border committee in 1995 had gone a long way to quickly resolving such issues.
Others said that border relations had improved since the International Court of Justice determined in 2013 that Thailand is obligated to respect Cambodia’s sovereignty over Preah Vihear.
“Small issues remain but they are infrequent and well-managed,” said Vannarith Chheang, chairman of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies.
In the case of the hen house, however, negotiations appeared to break down until Thai officials closed the border. Still, the disagreement was ultimately resolved when Cambodia officials agreed to undo their work on the hen house roof.
“The zinc roof has been removed,” Tin confirmed.