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Preah Vihear Temple

Will there a wall around Preah Vihear Temple?

Reinhard Hohler, eTN Ambassador, Chiang Mai  Aug 25, 2008

According to reports from some agencies in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is planning to build a "Berlin-style" wall to shut-off Thailand and develop tourist facilities around the still disputed Preah Vihear Temple by its own.

The Cambodian government will build a series of walls at "complicated border areas," while still calling for talks to mark and properly demarcate the frontier, Camdodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and a government spokesman told reporters at a press conference.

"Both sides should start to discuss to plant border markers from undisputed border areas to the complicated border areas and some complicated border areas will be built with border markers or concrete walls," Khieu Kanharith said.

"Cambodia will allow private companies to invest at least $2 million dollars at the Preah Vihear Temple to set up cable cars for tourists," he explained, adding that the government is also trying to rebuild an existing road to the temple.

It seems that the Preah Vihear border gate to Thailand will only be opened again, when the situation there is stable, but foreign tourists could visit the temple from the Cambodian side.

At the moment, authorities have closed the temple grounds to visitors. For decades, the only way to get to Preah Vihear was through Thailand, because the temple is situated atop a sharp cliff on the Cambodian side.

Cambodia and Thailand share a border of over 800km with only 73 demarcation markers, the Cambodian official said on Sunday.

At a meeting on Aug 18-19, Cambodian and Thai foreign ministers agreed to arrange a second-phase troop redeployment at the disputed border area near the temple.

They agreed to a meeting of the Cambodian Temporary Coordinating Task Force and the Thai Regional Border Committee on Aug 29 in Cambodia to discuss the troop redeployment.

The two foreign ministers also agreed to recommend to their governments that the next meeting of legal experts and the Thai-Cambodian Joint Border Committee be convened in early October, to discuss the issues related to border survey and demarcation of the relevant frontier sectors.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the border area to fetch three trespassers who had intended to claim Thai sovereignty over the Preah Vihear Temple. The incident triggered a military standoff, as troop strength on each side grew to more than 1,000 soldiers.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice (or World Court) in Den Haag/Holland decided that the 11-century temple belongs to Cambodia.

Will there a wall around Preah Vihear Temple?
Preah Vihear Temple /

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