Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that Cambodia did not provide weapons training to Thai Red Shirt activists during a meeting with Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva on the sidelines of the 17th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi.
The Prime Minister also denied reports that Red Shirt leader Arisman Pongruengrong had taken refuge in Cambodia and applied for a Cambodian visa at a consulate in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said upon returning from Hanoi.
“Before the meeting, the Thai media repeatedly published news that Abhisit would raise the issue of Arisman and the Red Shirts with Hun Sen,” Hor Namhong said.
“But when meeting with Samdech Hun Sen, Abhisit did not raise even a word about these issues – Samdech raised the matter.”
Thai media reported last month that 11 Red Shirt activists arrested in the country’s Chiang Mai province claimed to have received weapons training in Cambodia as they prepared plots to assassinate Abhisit and other Thai public figures.
These reports have been vigorously denied by Cambodian officials.
Abhisit and Hun Sen met for roughly 15 minutes on Thursday. Hor Namhong said the two discussed the normalisation of relations between the two countries and the possible redeployment of troops stationed near Preah Vihear temple, as well as a pending vote in the Thai parliament to approve the countries’ latest round of border negotiations.
Abhisit said that during the meeting in Hanoi, Hun Sen had accepted a request to investigate reports that Arisman and other Red Shirt leaders wanted on terrorism charges were hiding out in Cambodia, according to the Bangkok Post.
“We discussed this matter in principle,” Abhisit reportedly said. The Bangkok Post said Hun Sen had pledged that Cambodia would “throw its support behind Thai authorities if they officially requested it”.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said, however, that no such request had been made.
“Abhisit did not raise this issue at all with Samdech Hun Sen on the sidelines of the meeting in Hanoi, so how could he make a request to Hun Sen about the Red Shirts?” Koy Kuong said.
ASEAN heads meet Abhisit and Hun Sen joined other heads of state from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations for meetings in Hanoi last week.
The ASEAN leaders also joined the 16-nation East Asia Summit, which includes Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, as well as other sideline meetings.
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in the Kingdom this weekend, led an American delegation that attended the summit.
The talks came amid concern about currency tensions, territorial disputes and pressure to act on Myanmar’s looming elections, scheduled for
Clinton said in Hanoi that the US was prepared mediate in multilateral talks over territorial disputes in areas such as the South China Sea. China has said it prefers to handle such disagreements bilaterally.