Military attaches from at least four countries and Cambodia's top
military police commander traveled to Preah Vihear temple near the Thai border
Saturday, as a military standoff entered its fifth day.
The military attaches, from Vietnam,
China, the US and France, joined Lt. Gen. Sao Sokha
near the temple, and soldiers told VOA Khmer the situation was stable.
The military attaches had come in the capacity of
"tourists," in order to see the reality of the confrontation, Sao
Sokha told reporters Saturday. The diplomats don't want to see either country
have a confrontation, which would destroy the mutual interests of both
countries, he said.
At least 1,600 soldiers from both sides now occupy land
surrounding Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda, known in Cambodia as the Prasat pagoda.
Thai Division 6 commander Col. Huong Songnoeun told VOA
Khmer Saturday there would be no fighting.
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej sent a letter to Prime
Minister Hun Sen Friday claiming the construction of the pagoda 200 meters west
of Preah Vihear temple was a violation of existing agreements.
"The establishment of the Cambodian community,
including construction of a temple and houses, and the stationing of the
Cambodian military personnel in the area constitute a continued violation of Thailand's
sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Thai Foreign Ministry said in
a statement, according to Agence France-Presse.
Cambodian officials maintain the pagoda and the temple
belong to Cambodia.
The week's tensions surround the inclusion of Preah Vihear
temple on Unesco's World Heritage list, a decision that sparked opposition
protests in Bangkok and led to the resignation
Cambodia Watchdog Council International issued a request to
Unesco Thursday asking the organization to request a Thai withdrawal of troops.
Thai and Cambodian soldiers in the pagoda and surrounding
land have been mingling together in past days, but they nearly clashed on
Thursday, when Thai troops pointed weapons at Cambodian soldiers trying to
enter the pagoda.
A joint border committee is scheduled to meet over the
standoff on Monday.