Thai soldiers have occupied the 13-century Ta Moan Thom Temple in Kork Mon commune, Bantey Omil district, Otdar Meanchey province of Cambodia, next to Preah Vihear province, where Thai troops haveclaimed the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda since July 15, Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Council of Ministers of Cambodia, told Xinhua.
The Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda is just 300 meters away from the Preah Vihear Temple and situated on the only road leading to the temple, which is the focus of the dispute.
“We already have our troops there patrol the (second) temple. Both sides agreed to plant border demarcation posts there and we already have one old border post near the temple,” the spokesman said.
He couldn’t confirm the numbers of both troops there.
Monday, foreign ministers from Cambodian and Thailand convened a meeting to agree mulling evacuating troops from the border near Preah Vihear province, but both sides haven’t made the final decision so far.
Previous efforts by the two countries and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations had failed to break the standoff, either.
On July 15, Thai troops went into the disputed area to fetch three trespassers and stationed there ever since, triggering the military stalemate.
The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.
In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes in the coming years.