Military commanders say they are monitoring construction of a new road on Thai side of border
Photo by: Tracey shelton
A Cambodian soldier carries a rocket-propelled grenade at Preah Vihear earlier this year.
THE commander of an RCAF brigade at Preah Vihear said Monday that they were closely monitoring a road construction project undertaken by Thailand that they said was approaching Phnom Trop, located two kilometres from the temple.
"The Thais are constructing a road in their territory about one kilometre from Phnom Trop, where our soldiers are standing," said Yim Phim, commander of RCAF Brigade 8.
"They see that we have a road near here, so they are building one on their land. They can build it in their territory but not in the disputed area," he added.
He said he first noticed that the road was approaching Phnom Trop last week.
Also Monday, Sao Socheat, deputy commander of RCAF Military Region 4, said 15 Thai soldiers had established a base last month at Chak Chreng, known as Hill 600, a disputed knoll located near Phnom Trop.
"Before this place had no one on it," he said.
"Soldiers from both sides were patrolling along it and then going back to their bases. But 15 Thai soldiers are now based on the hill and are not returning to their original base every day as they had done before."
He said RCAF officials were pressing Thai military officials to get the soldiers away from Chak Chreng, adding: "We will not allow them to settle there."
Kamrob Palawatwichai, first secretary for the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh, could not be reached for comment Monday.
The news channel Thai ASEAN News Network reported on Monday that Wibulsak Neepal, a Thai army commander, said soldiers had been patrolling the area "as usual" and were "well within the parameters of the agreement regarding border conflicts".
Neepal said the claims of Thai soldiers based on Chak Chreng were likely the result of a misunderstanding on the part of Cambodian journalists, according to the report.