“It is Cambodian troops who invade in our soil”, said Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Friday 18 July 2008.
If we observe the processes of the conflict we can judge who the righteous is and who the provoker and the invader is.
Legally and internationally, the sacred Khmer Preah Vihear temple was undisputedly recognized as Cambodian property and geographically, it is located in Cambodia soil both in the past and the present.
Historically, the sacred Khmer Preah Vihear temple was built in the 10th and 11th century by the august kings of former Cambodian Empire- Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II when the Tai tribe (present Thai) were still in Nan Jao southern of China who later moved southwards to resettle in the then Khmer Empire in the wake of the Mongol invasion of China and this tribe was forgiven and kindly allowed to live in our Empire by our benevolent kings.
However, our great Empire was weakened by the in-fighting politics and the war with other neighboring states. Taking this chance; the Tai built up its state, attacked and sacked us in the 1431. From then on we have been under the consistent attack and invasions by these neighbors for centuries.
Our country was able to survive under the French protectorate. Some provinces, Battambang, Preah Vihear, and Siem Reap, were given back by the Siam even though many are still under its occupation today, and the new borderline demarcation between Thailand and Cambodia was carried out drawn by the French. Thailand accepted the map and signed the treaties-1904 and 1907 which also used as the foundation for International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Hague in 1962 over the Preah Vihear case which favor Cambodia in the suit.
However, the Thai never give up their greed and honestly accept the loss proudly boasting that they are the superior people to all nations in South East Asia and why must they subject to the Khmer? The war continues. They rewrite their ultra-nationalist history, reject the existence of the Khmer political, cultural, and architectural influences in their society, create hatred and the look down on Khmer, Laos as well as Burma, and keep invading Khmer border both land and sea, and treat and kill Khmer like animal.
Now the wound becomes painful again to the Thai when it comes to Khmer Preah Vihear temple seek for World heritage status submitted since 2002 and finally granted its listing in 7 July 2008.
The Thai consider the loss of Preah Vihear as the unforgivable shame. They always try to be superior to Khmer. So how can they give it up easily and accept the loss? Then the frame over the border invasion and Preah Vihear control started. How could this have happened? The Thai know that it would be the loss again if they would contest with Cambodia honestly over the Preah Vihear unless they stage a long-term strategy and carefully frame over Cambodian weakness and the world’s soft politics toward them. Let’s observe the below process of the political frame of the Thai.
Firstly, they persuaded Cambodia to sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU) over border demarcation, esp., the 2000 MOU. Why do we need MOU? Why don’t we use GPS basing on the existing map of Siam-Franco treaty to demarcate the borderline?
Then, they published the fake protests, to Cambodia, published widely in media, sent them to international communities, that Cambodia is invading Thai territorial sovereignty, esp., the protests in 2004, 2005, 2007, and April 2008. Why are they the fake protests? Because have Cambodia ever invaded any country for these centuries? Is Cambodia capable to invade Thailand while she is trying to survive herself from poverty of decades of war and the internal conflicts? Thailand is a forever peaceful country and has its soldiers stationing everywhere along the border and how can the unarmed Cambodian civilian invade Thailand? We hardly believe this accusation of the Thai.
By using the 2000 MOU, the fake protests, and through its soft persuasion and the fake smile, the international communities listened to the Thai and asked Cambodia to negotiate with the Thai for their support in order to list the Preah Vihear temple. They successfully blocked Cambodia from listing the temple as World Heritage site two times 2006 and 2007 and hoped to achieve their greed, i.e., the Joint Management as they proposed. Their often and basic arguments raised as an objection to the listing of the Khmer Preah Vihear temple is that the borderline is not known, the stair of the temple is in Thailand, the temple is easily accessible only from Thailand, some important sites subordinates to the temple are in Thailand, etc., so we must have the Joint Management. How can these people claim that the borderline is not known? Do they lose their mind and forget the Siam-Franco treaty in 1904 and 1907 and the verdict of ICJ 1962 which they themselves signed and recognized? Basing on the ICJ 1962, geographically the borderline is clear and the demarcated distance from the temple stair to the Cambodian-Thai border is as far as 2.6km away. But why the stair is in Thailand now? Did the Khmer build the temple without its subordinate elements and the stairs? So who invades whom?
Boring with the Thai objection and the easy-tricked international community, motivated by the political interest, the Cambodian leaders fell into the Thai trap by redrawing the new map proposed by the Thai. Why is it the trap? Because with the new map redrawn, the Thai will have privilege to lay claim for the 4.6 km2 land surrounding the Preah Vihear temple which is the long planned strategy to get rid of taking over the temple or achieving the Joint Management plan.
We can see it clearly that it is really the bad frame of the Thai. After endorsing the Joint Communiqué, they then rejected it. They are playing with two faces flip-flopping daily over the Khmer Preah Vihear temple issues in order to provoke the conflicts and they will take the opportunity to invade Cambodia. With this, they intentionally ignore the daily protestors who claim over Khmer Preah Vihear temple. And they even allowed these protestors to go into Cambodia illegally and protest inside Cambodia. Who believe that dozens of Thai border soldiers can’t prevent these three protestors from entering Cambodia? Where on earth one can enter into another country freely, illegally and protest against it? Cambodia detained them only four hours and then released without harm. Do we believe the Thai would treat us the same as we did to the three Thais if we entered into Thailand in the same situation? The answer is absolutely “NO”, because we have seen and witnessed so much Cambodian civilian blood covering the ground along the Cambodian-Thai border inhumanly committed by these brutal Thai.
Now it is almost their last step. After having achieved their strategical frames-the 2000 MOU, the Joint Communiqué, and the latest bait of three Thai protestors, they (Thai soldiers) entered into Cambodia freely by claiming that they come to protect their people who were arrested by the Cambodian soldiers. If the Thai are really honest neighbor why didn’t they send their delegates to negotiate for the release? Why soldiers? And it is absurd for the claim because the arrested people were already released and why don’t they withdraw?
With the pressure of Cambodia side and the international eyes, they later on claimed differently as Thai army Colonel Chay Huay Soongnern said, “We all love peace. We are here, we don’t want anything. We came to offer protection in case Thai protestors come here … We came to help Cambodian troops and their people. I don’t think that we will stay here much longer.” Why don’t they station in their country to prevent their Thai extreme protestors? Does Cambodia ask for their help? Do they think Cambodia is incapable for such a protection? I think Hun Sen government is even more capable in prevention than the Thai for such a protest.
Now the Thai trick is clearly revealedwhen Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, on Friday 18 July 2008, said that, “It is Cambodian troops who invade in Thai soil”. He claimed this after his country has built up solid military base inside Cambodia and have observed the silence of international communities´s reaction against its invasion over Cambodia. Now they don’t withdraw as they said before but they keep building up their forces and at the same time they start to play diplomacy with the international communities in order to paint the bad image of Cambodia by summoning Cambodian ambassador to Bangkok to accept their protest against Cambodian invasion and inviting eight Asean members to receive their protests signed by PM Samak on 18 July 2008 and some others framed documents, 2000 MOU, the Thai protests against Cambodia invasion 2004, 2005, 2007 and April 2008.
It is even more clearly explained the dirtiness of the Thai if we reflect on the statement of the Thai Supreme Commander Gen Boonsrang Neimpradit who indicated that “Thailand could propose Phnom Penh withdraw about 500 Cambodian villagers from the disputed area as a condition for a Thai military withdrawal.” This statement is clearly referred to Sumak’s latest statement and the new redrawn map –the Joint Communiqué. It means that now they officially claim for the land and greedily want to completely control it.
They do know that if they don’t use forces to pressure Cambodia, the 500 villagers will not be removed and their dream to rob those surrounding lands of Khmer Preah Vihear temple will be failed and the seek for future Joint Management will be completely nonnegotiable and this will put the Thai for another shame.
What will happen if Cambodia doesn’t agree with the condition? I think the Thai will resort to other tricks. They might allow other Thai protesters enter into Cambodia and then provoke the war allegedly protecting their civilians. They might at night use Thai soldiers disguising as Cambodian soldiers and wage the war first against the Thai themselves and then accuse Cambodia as the first to wage war and then invade Cambodia. Or there might be more invisible tricks. So watch out!
They do hope they will win the war because they think their army are superior to Khme army in term of equipments and numbers. Then the villagers will flee from their homes if the war would be erupted. They will control the land and pressure for the last bargain in exchange for the peace, i.e., the rightful control of the land surrounding the temple and it may be even the Joint Management of the Preah Vihear temple.
Do we hope the conflict will be solved easily? I do hope so only if Thailand can become the nation of honesty. For now I see that, “the conflicts between Cambodia and Thailand will not be easily solved if without international intervention, because Cambodia is trying to solve the conflicts basing on its honest, respectful, and friendly relationship with the Thai while the Thai is trying hard to solve it through its dirty political trick for long-term invading and dominant political strategy over Cambodia”.
My observation is that the Thai trick is easily revealed if we listen to their languages carefully. They always speak their languages flexibly according to the step of the situation development they have planned and achieved.
19 July 2008