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Fighting on Thai-Cambodian Border Kills 1 Soldier

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Thai and Cambodian soldiers are reported to have exchanged small-arms fire again, resulting in the death of a Thai soldier.

Diplomatic efforts to end the border dispute continue despite the latest fighting late Monday night. The Thai and Cambodian prime ministers are expected to meet later this week on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Indonesia.

Also, the International Court of Justice says it has opened a case responding to Cambodia's request for an interpretation of 1962 ruling that gave Phnom Penh sovereignty over an ancient temple along the border with Thailand.

Cambodia submitted its request last week, asking the court in the Hague to immediately order Thailand to pull its troops back from their positions around the 900-year-old Khmer Hindu temple called Preah Vihear in Cambodia and Phra Viharn in Thailand.

Thailand does not dispute Cambodia's claim to the temple, but the two countries disagree over land surrounding the temple, which includes one of the main access points to the temple. Thailand says the international court ruling nearly 50 years ago gave it control of the land.

The armies of the two countries have clashed repeatedly this year near Preah Vihear and at other disputed points along their border, parts of which have never been permanently marked.

The International Court of Justice said Cambodia's submission includes a request for a ban on all Thai military activity near the temple.

Cambodia also asked the court to explain the meaning and “scope of its judgment” back in 1962, with the hope that a binding ruling on the two countries could lead to a final, peaceful resolution of the dispute. The court did not say when it will open hearings in the case.

More than 30 people, most of them soldiers, have died in sporadic fighting since 2008, when Cambodia received United Nations World Heritage status for the temple – a move strongly opposed by Thai nationalists. Recent fighting has forced tens of thousands of villagers to flee their homes, but some began returning home Monday.

Field commanders from the two armies negotiated a truce last week, but it has been violated occasionally by small-arms fire.

Article by VOA News