Thai, Cambodian troops clash in disputed border region
At least three soldiers were killed during gunfights near a 900-year-old temple, whose ownership has been contested by both sides.
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At least three people were killed in a firefight between Cambodian and Thai troops Friday in the latest of a recent series of clashes along the disputed Thai-Cambodian border. The skirmish comes days before the two sides were set to discuss the issue at a regional summit.
"We are fighting with each other, it is serious gunfire. Two of our soldiers have been killed," Cambodian government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said. "The gunfire is continuing in at least two areas," he added....
Cambodian and Thai authorities confirmed heavy gunfire had broken out at 2:00 pm (0700 GMT) in a number of spots near the border, which has never been fully demarcated due to landmines left after decades of war in Cambodia.
"We have occupied many areas now. The gunfire ended after about 35 minutes of fighting. We have won the fight now," Cambodian commander Bun Thean told AFP.
"The army chiefs are now talking," Tharit said. "We asked for a ceasefire and do not want to use force."
Cambodian and Thai troops engaged in "large-scale fighting" today, Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said by phone. Two Thai soldiers were killed and six wounded, he said. Tharit denied the claim and said Thailand had suffered no deaths or injuries.
The battles took place around the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, the ownership of which has been contested by Thailand and Cambodia. Although the International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled in 1962 that the temple was within Cambodia's territory, the court did not address the ownership of the surrounding land, which both nations have claimed. As a result, the temple has remained a flashpoint. In July 2008, both countries engaged in a troop buildup and saber-rattling over the temple, after UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site for Cambodia, The Christian Science Monitor reported. Several soldiers were killed in a subsequent skirmish near Preah Vihear in October.