Prime Minister Hun Sen directly insulted the prime minister of Thailand as “stupid” and “crazy” on Monday, as he continued a four-day tour of disputed border regions in the north.
The remarks, aimed at Abhisit Vejjajiva, were a reaction to the Thai premier’s criticism of Hun Sen’s visit in military uniform to the temple of Preah Vihear on Saturday, in a continuing row between the two national leaders.
Cambodia and Thailand have thousands of heavily armed troops entrenched along the border, engaged in a 19-month military standoff over disputed border regions. The standoff has led to a handful of skirmishes, leaving at least eight soldiers dead.
Hun Sen visited Preah Vihear temple on Saturday, telling soldiers there he supported them in their defense of the border against potential “invasion.” He appeared with his wife, Bun Rany, wearing military fatigues.
Abhisit responded to the visit in Thai media, saying Hun Sen’s appearance in uniform was merely for political gain.
“My statement today is not good listening for the Bangkok leaders,” Hun Sen told soldiers near the Ta Moan temple complex, on the border of Oddar Meanchey province, Monday. “It displeases your mind that I have worn a military uniform my whole life.”
“Prime Minister Abhisit is stupid and crazy today,” he continued. “You have no right to ban me from wearing a military uniform. The wearing of the uniform is up to me, and I haven’t wronged the Cambodian constitution or law.”
Cambodia and Thailand are at diplomatic loggerheads over the appointment of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser to Hun Sen. Both countries have withdrawn their ambassadors over Thaksin, who is wanted in Thailand on corruption charges.