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Thai Military Leaders Scheduled for Visit

High-ranking Thai military commanders are slated to meet their Cambodian counterparts later this month, in an effort to address the longstanding border dispute near Preah Vihear temple and an emerging maritime dispute, officials said Friday.

Already high military tensions escalated this week, when Thailand protested Cambodia’s push for further oil exploration in the Gulf of Thailand, especially near Kuth island. Thailand said this was an encroachment of its maritime borders, a claim Cambodia denies. Both sides have had soldiers entrenched near the Preah Vihear border for more than a year.

Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatra, supreme commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, and his deputies, Adm. Apichart Pengsritong and Air Chief Marshal Bureerat Ratanavanich, will be accompanied by some 87 Thai military officials to visit Cambodia Aug. 24.

The delegation will meet with Gen. Pol Saroeun, commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, and other senior officials.

The visit “is intended to strengthen the relationship and cooperation between the two countries,” Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh told VOA Khmer. “This visit will reduce military tension in border disputes.”