>Foreign Ministry Says Ruom Chet Pavilion in Tri-Border Area Belongs to Cambodia

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(From top) Ruom Chet Pavilion is located in Toek Kraham commune of Choam Khsan District and Cambodian troops stationed at the point of Ruom Chet Pavilion at the tri-border area (kohsantepheapdaily.com.kh, 29 October)

30 Oct 08
Koh Santepheap Daily News
Translated from Khmer by Anonymous
for Ki-Media

The tri-border area was in the limelight last week after the Thai Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 21 October claiming that Cambodia had deployed seven troops in the contentious area. Thailand called that point Trimuk Pavilion. It is located in an area where Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand meet, requiring the three countries to hold talks to divide the territory clearly first, before determining which point belonging to which country.

Anyway, in its reaction, the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, issued a diplomatic note pointing out that it is in Cambodian territory and that in 2003, the Thai side even already recognized the point called the house or pavilion of Ruom Chet.

Lt. Col. Duong Chan, commander of the Land Border Defense 401st Unit stationed on the tri-border front line in Preah Vihear Province, reported that after the Kingdom of Cambodia had included Preah Vihear Temple in the World Heritage list and following the invasion by black-uniformed Thai troops of the area of Kev Soekha Kiri Svarak Monastery called Preah Vihear Temple Monastery on 15 July 2008, Thai black-clad soldiers in the 23-02 Unit had intruded into and captured Cambodian territory at the point of Ruom Chet Pavilion in the tri-border area and other points. The Thai side had also moved its forces to confront our troops in the sense of threatening us and breaking our moral with the map that they had drawn unilaterally to claim that those areas belonged to it.

The lieutenant colonel added that on 19 September, a team of 10-15 fully armed Thai black-uniformed soldiers from the 23-02 Unit came and remained with our troops at the point of Ruom Chet Pavilion. They then threatened the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces [RCAF] troops and forced them to leave the area, which is actually Cambodian territory, but the latter refused to comply.

It should be recalled that the distance from Ruom Chet Pavilion to the Cambodian-Thai border is 900 meters and that the forces of the RCAF 401st Border Unit in the area is firmly defending it at present.

Lt. Col. Duong Chan also said that the sentries of the 401st Unit stationed in the area had thwarted every attempt by Thai troops to violate and grab Cambodian territory. The Unit had also had dialogue with the Thai side and demanded that it respect agreements on the two countries’ territorial integrity and refrain from violating each other’s territory.

It should be pointed out that the tri-border area is where Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand meet. The area, abounding with high mountains, deep cascades, and dense forests, is part of the Dangrek Mountain range extending to Mekong River, at the point of Tonle L’poeu on the Lao-Cambodian border.

Lt. Col. Duong Chan further said that although Thailand had moved scores of its forces to the area to confront our troops in the sense of threatening to take control of our Cambodian territory, the RCAF officers and troops of the 401st Unit had not feared the intimidation in the least. On the contrary, they had become increasingly courageous, daring to sacrifice everything for safeguarding Cambodia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity forever.

Moreover, Lt. Col. Duong Chan said that concerning Cambodia’s border with Laos, our two countries’ forces have been in very good cooperation; there has been no problem at all.

The 401st Unit commander also said that although there is geographical difficulty in this area where streams, cascades, and high mountainous slopes had to be crossed to reach it, our border defense troops stationed here had managed to plant crops and raise animals in order to improve their living conditions.

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