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Thai Criticism OK, Vietnam, No: Observer

Cambodian nationalism exists at the same level on border conflicts with either Thailand or Vietnam, but expression is "prohibited" when it comes to the eastern neighbor, even as it is allowed against the western, an observer said Thursday.

"Expression is prohibited when it is happening with Vietnam," said Sean Pengse, a member of the Cambodian Border Committee in France, as a guest on "Hello VOA."

"It's the same with Siam," he said, referring to Thailand by its traditional name, which was changed in 1949. "They allow speech, and with Vietnam they don't allow speech."

Cambodian and Thai nationalism were stoked in July by the inclusion of Preah Vihear temple on a Unesco World Heritage site, leading to an standoff between soldiers of both countries that continues today, in an area where both sides claim disputed border territory.

But in the months that have followed, Thailand has been plunged into a political crisis, with opposition activists calling for a change in government.

Seng Pengse said the current dispute comes from memoranda of understanding signed by the government, and not by sides ignoring treaties from 1904, 1907 and 1908.

Meanwhile, a government spokesman said ahead of "Hello VOA" Cambodia would pursue multilateral solutions to the border standoff, rather than bilateral talks that have so far failed.

"Cambodia will resubmit its case to the UN Security Council to seek an international solution, as the Thais keep defying one," said Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers.