As Cambodian and Thai officials sought to resolve the
continued military standoff at Preah Vihear temple, former king Norodom
Sihanouk re-issued a statement this week saying he was willing to raise an army
if the Thais invaded the country.
Sihanouk is scheduled to leave for Beijing Friday for the opening of the 2008
Summer Olympics, but he posted in his weekly Bulletin Mensuel de Documentation,
or BMD, on Monday, "even though I am getting older, I would go to the bush
to attack a Thai invasion."
The statement used the French word "maquis" for
bush, a reference to raising resistance.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said neither war nor
violence would not be an option in the standoff, which began July 15 when Thai
troops occupied a pagoda near Preah Vihear temple.
Thousands of soldiers are deployed on each side of the
border, as well as tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons.
The BMD message was a reposting of statements Sihanouk made
following anit-Thai riots in Phnom
Penh in 2003, and they met with mixed support from
current Cambodian officials.
Prince Sisowath Thomico, a former adviser to Sihanouk, said
the words carried as much meaning as they had five years ago.
"Even though he wrote it in 2003, until now it reflects
his own views," Prince Thomico said.
"Even though he's getting old, he still has resistance
to maintain our heritage, especially our Preah Vihear land, which he won in the Hague in 1962,"
said Funcinpec lawmaker Khieu Son, a former military officer under Lon Nol and
CPP adviser Dien
Del, former commander-in-chief
during the Lon Nol and Sangkum Reastr Nyum regimes, said Thursday he had not
seen the king's statement, but added the Preah Vihear crisis should be solved
through peaceful negotiation.
"Don't forget that we are smaller than Thailand,"
he said. "Please give time to the politicians so that they can negotiate
in a peaceful way, because war is difficult and the Thais have more troops than
us and more modern weapons."
"I am now 76 years old, so I cannot lead the armed
forces to fight any more," Dien
Del said. "We cannot knock
our heads with iron."