Cambodia’s two major newspapers have recently run opinion pieces on the Thai-Cambodian dispute by two experts on Cambodia. In a letter to The Cambodia Daily, Prince Sisowath Thomico, who currently serves as an advisor to the Cabinet of King Norom Sihamoni, concluded that:
Asean is really willing to help broker a peaceful settlement to the conflict, within the legal frameworks of existing conventions, treaties and agreements between Cambodia and Thailand, the first step would surely be to find a way to enforce the 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice of The Hague, because it is not the 4.6 square km of land surrounding the Temple that is at stake: It is the judgment itself that is being dismissed by the Abhisit government.
In the Comment section published by the Phnom Penh Post today, Michael Hayes, the founder of this paper, who served as its editor-in-chief for 17 years, criticizes Thailand for “trying to export its domestic political problems and dump them on poor Cambodia.”
If this dispute goes real hot, relations between Cambodia and Thailand will be ruined for years, hundreds on both sides will die needlessly and the economic costs to the two countries will be astronomical.
Cooler heads need to prevail but rest assured the Cambodians will never, no matter what the price, give up control of Wat Preah Vihear.
Why should they? It’s theirs.
Michael Hayes’s The view from Cambodia is available online here.