Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ties will outlast temple feud, say Thai officials

Ties will outlast temple feud, say Thai officials

Ties will outlast temple feud, say Thai officials

Vandy Rattana

Military police guard the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh. Authorities hope to avoid a repeat of the 2003 riots that saw the embassy burned.

F IRE trucks and armed police may be stationed outside their embassy, but Thai officials and business are putting a brave face on economic ties, which they say will weather the Preah Vihear temple feud.

The more than two-week long dispute has brought fears of a repeat of the 2003 anti-Thai riots, during which the Thai embassy and Thai businesses were looted and torched.

As talks between Thai and Cambodian officials on the most recent spat run on with no clear resolution, rumours have circulated that Thais are fleeing Cambodia or have frozen their investments.

And while the Thai embassy has issued security warnings to citizens traveling to Cambodia, Poonsak Khunudom, the Economic Attache at the Thai embassy in Bangkok, said that he had heard of no Thai business pulling out.

“Our relations are good…We have to support each other,” said Poonsak Khunudom, the economic attache at the Thai embassy in Bangkok.

“A lot of Thai investors are interested in Cambodia,” he said.

Fears revisited

The temple dispute has dredged up memories of the aftermath of the 2003 riots, which saw relations – and business ties – nose-dive.

But according to Yong Yut, a spokesman for Siam Cement Group in Cambodia (SCG), the Preah Vihear dispute has had no effect on the company’s operations. “This month our orders fell, but that was because of the elections – not the temple dispute,” he said. 

SCG is Thailand’s largest conglomerate and is a major global construction materials producer.

The company was hard hit by the 2003 riots when its Phnom Penh offices were destroyed by rioters.

SCG currently has operations in Phnom Penh, Kampot and Siem Reap and reported about US$50 million in annual local sales, and production of about one million tonnes of concrete earmarked for the local market.

The company expects 15-20 percent local sales growth this year, according to Yong Yut.

Thailand continues to aggressively promote trade and investment in Cambodia and the region through a number of initiatives such as Thailand’s Import-Export bank and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Strategy (ACMECS).

The programme targets Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, and saw 2.13 million baht in loans going to Thai businesses investing in Cambodia and regional trade growing to $10 billion last year.

Thailand is the third largest investor in Cambodia from the region and has about 100 SMEs in Cambodia, according to the Thai embassy.

Thai exports rose more than 70 percent this year – the highest rate in five-years, according to Thailand’s Commerce Ministry.


  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The