>Thai, Cambodian leaders to discuss border dispute

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The Associated Press
Published: October 20, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Cambodia’s prime minister plans to meet with his Thai counterpart later this week to discuss the tense border dispute between the two Southeast Asian neighbors, Cambodian officials said Monday.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (pictured) and Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat will meet on the sidelines of a summit of leaders from Asia and the European Union that opens in Beijing on Friday, said Sri Thamrongk, an adviser to Hun Sen.

A Cambodian foreign ministry spokesman, Koy Kuong, said the “current stand off at the Cambodian-Thai border” will be the most important topic of the talks.

A Thai government spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The meeting would be the first face-to-face talks between the two leaders since a deadly gunbattle erupted Oct. 15 between Thai and Cambodian soldiers at a disputed border area near the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

The fighting, which killed two Cambodian soldiers and wounded 10 from both sides, sparked fears of war between the countries.

Both sides agreed to joint patrols along the border to ease tensions. Troops remain on alert at both sides of the border.

The fighting was the latest flare-up in a decades-old dispute over a stretch of jungle near the Preah Vihear temple. The World Court awarded the temple to Cambodia in 1962, but sovereignty over surrounding land has never been clearly resolved.

Hun Sen, accompanied by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh, left Monday for a weeklong visit to China. They planned to attend a trade exposition before heading to the summit in Beijing.

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