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Cambodia Rings In 1st Anniversary of ‘Heritage’ Temple

Cambodia celebrated the World Heritage status of Preah Vihear temple Tuesday, as bells rang in temples across the country and local television ran stories about the difficulties faced by the government as it fought to have the temple listed against the objections of Thailand.

Unesco announced the listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage on July 7, 2008, sparking nationalist protests in Thailand that led to a military crisis on the border.

Hundreds of troops from both sides remain entrenched along contested border areas near the temple, with sporadic skirmishes killing at least seven so far.

Bells in pagodas and schools rang out at noon, and Cambodia’s national flag could be seen hanging from nearly all the homes in Phnom Penh.

Council Miniser Sok An said in a ceremony July 7 would be remembered as a day of success for the nation, “in the domains of culture, national heritage and world heritage.”

Meanwhile, neither side has been able to resolve the military standoff, which began days after the World Heritage listing.

Each side adheres to a different map delineating the borders, and Cambodian military officials say Thai troops have continued to amass on the border and in disputed areas.

“We will continue to fight against the invasion of Thai troops,” said Srey Deuk, commander of Division 3, which is responsible for Preah Vihear province.