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Militaries in talks over Thai border build-up

Militaries in talks over Thai border build-up

As talks continued yesterday over the reinforcement of Thai troops along a disputed border area in Preah Vihear province, Cambodian officials said they were confident the situation could be resolved peacefully.

Meas Yoeun, a deputy military commander in Preah Vihear, said the situation remained “calm” despite a bolstered Thai military presence, as internal meetings about how to resolve the tension were under way.

“We still believe in the agreement made by both countries to remain at peace,” he said.

The neighbouring countries have been at odds this week over Cambodian construction work in an area that it claims sovereignty of, but which Thailand says had previously been agreed on as neutral territory.

Thailand has deployed about 200 troops to the area and closed a border crossing.

Hun Manet, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son and a lieutenant-general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, visited the area but has returned to the capital to report on the situation to his father, Yoeun said.

According to a military official in the area who asked not to be named, Cambodian officials have contacted their Thai counterparts in efforts to resolve the situation, but no formal meetings have taken place.

Carlyle Thayer, a Southeast Asia expert, said it “appears unlikely on the basis of current evidence that armed conflict will break out on the scale of preceding years” along the historically tense border.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

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