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Working Hours at Thai-Cambodian Border Checkpoints and the Phra Viharn Interpretation Case

November 1, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

13302231018pThe Cabinet, during its meeting on 29 October 2013, approved a proposal by the Ministry of Interior to extend working hours at five Thai-Cambodian permanent border checkpoints.
The proposal seeks to allow the five permanent border checkpoints to open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., instead of opening from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The five checkpoints include Ban Laem and Ban Phak Kat in Pong Nam Ron district, Chanthaburi province; Ban Hat Lek in Khlong Yai district, Trat province; Ban Khlong Luek in Aranyaprathet district, Sa Kaeo province; and Chong Chom in Kap Choeng district, Surin province.

Meanwhile, Government Spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said that Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul informed the Cabinet about the Government’s preparations for the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the Phra Viharn interpretation case.

Mr. Surapong said that he led a delegation to hold discussions on the issue with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia Hor Namhong on 28 October 2013 at Poipet, Banteay Meanchey province, Cambodia.

Four major points were made during the discussions. First, both countries will work to ensure that their relations will not be affected, whatever the International Court of Justice’s verdict on Phra Viharn temple may be. Before any action is taken, consultation will be sought. In the second point, the two countries, both at the government level and the military in the border areas, must maintain stability along the borders and prevent any untoward incident.

The third point is that Thailand and Cambodia will use their existing bilateral mechanisms to discuss the substantive points of the Court’s judgment and any related actions. In the fourth point, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of each country will be the main responsible agency for coordinating information and providing accurate information to the public for better understanding.

The Court’s ruling in 1962 stated that the Temple f Phra Viharn is on Cambodian soil, without mentioning the border demarcation. Cambodia in 2007 unilaterally proposed the temple for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thailand emphasized its stance that the inclusion of the Temple of Phra Viharn on the UNESCO World Heritage List should be agreed jointly by both countries.

Cambodia and Thailand have claimed the area of 4.6 square kilometers surrounding the temple. After its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, the area has become the focus of a territorial dispute between the two countries. Cambodia had asked the International Court of Justice to interpret its 1962 judgment in the case concerning the Temple of Phra Viharn by defining the terms “territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia” and the temple’s “vicinity.”

The Court is scheduled to announce its verdict on the issue on 11 November 2013.

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