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Thai-Cambodian border dispute sparks row between Thai army and yellow-shirt

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-1-13 8:28:50

The border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia has led to conflict between Thai army and nationalist yellow-shirt media.

On Friday evening and Saturday morning, about 50 Thai army officers gathered in front of ASTV-Manager newspaper office to show disapproval of the paper's criticism on the army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha over the disputed border area around the ancient hindu temple of Preah Vihear. The protesters left peacefully after gathering for about an hour.

Thailand and Cambodia are scheduled to give their oral statements on the dispute to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands, on April 15-19.

In its 1962 verdict, the ICJ ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia but there was no judgement on the 4.6 square kilometres of the land surrounding the temple. The dispute between the two countries erupted again shortly after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved Cambodia's bid to have the temple named a World Heritage Site in 2008.

The People's Alliance for Democracy also known as yellow-shirt and its media -- ASTV-Manager newspaper and cable TV channel -- urged the government to defy the ICJ, saying its verdict does not have legitimacy.

The outspoken Gen. Prayuth said he believed Thailand should respect ICJ's ruling. The general also criticized the paper for always targeting him.

The paper responded with a commentary on Friday, comparing Gen. Prayuth to a woman who is angry at other people randomly during her period.

The leading protester Sgt Maj Anuchit Silpawathee said on Friday the remarks had damaged army's morale, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported.

Chief Executive Officer of ASTV-Manager Group Jittanart Limthongkul said on Saturday that the gathering of soldiers was aimed at intimidating media.

Army Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd told media that Gen. Prayuth had ordered all the soldiers to stop the protest.
Posted in: Asia-Pacific