>Thai PM visits soldiers injured in deadly border fight


KANTHARALAK, Thailand (AFP) – Thailand’s prime minister, under pressure from military chiefs to resign, on Saturday flew to the Cambodian border to visit soldiers injured in deadly clashes between the two nations.

Somchai Wongsawat (pictured) was due to visit a military hospital in eastern Ubon Ratchathani province, where one soldier remains critically ill following a gunfight with Cambodian troops on their disputed border on Wednesday.

A regional army spokesman said the premier would later fly to neighbouring Si Sa Ket province, where the violence erupted near an ancient temple that left two Cambodian soldiers dead and seven Thai troops injured.

“He will be briefed by the military and visit soldiers to boost their morale,” Colonel Taweesak Boonrakchart told reporters.

“It will take around one hour but he will not visit the flash point where the gun battle took place,” he said.

Taweesak said the atmosphere along the border was calm, but said Thai troops remained on alert to protect the kingdom’s sovereignty.

Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to a joint border patrol aimed at preventing a repeat of the deadly clashes near the Preah Vihear temple, but there has been no word on when they would start.

Meanwhile Somchai insisted on Friday that he would not resign, despite army chief Anupong Paojinda hinting that he should in a live television broadcast a day earlier.

Somchai, who has been in the post just one month, has been under increasing pressure to quit and dissolve parliament after clashes between police and anti-government protesters on October 7 left two dead and nearly 500 injured.

The protesters claim the government is a puppet of ousted and exiled premier Thaksin Shinawatra, whom it accuses of corruption and nepotism.

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