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Monday, April 13, 2009

Cambodian gov't agrees to contain temple vandalism with int'l intervention

PHNOM PENH, The Cambodian government has agreed to ask for international intervention to help contain vandalism of the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple at the border area with Thailand, national media said on Tuesday.

The government agrees with the proposals submitted by some NGOs(non-government organization) to guarantee the security of the temple with international law, and sue any ruiner for vandalism at the international community, spokesman of the Cambodian Council of Ministers Phay Siphan told Chinese-language daily newspaper the Commercial News.

The temple was awarded with the title of World Heritage Site inJuly 2008 by UNESCO (the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization), and it deserves Cambodian as well as international management and protection, he said.

It is a pity that UNESCO is only a cultural organization and can't handle lawsuits, he said, adding that the government is collecting evidence of Thai vandalism of the temple in order to help terminate such acts and seek for compensation.

Two armed confrontations between Cambodian and Thai troops at the border area in early April, together two others last year, have left a number of bullet pits and other ruins on the temple.

The damages have prompted NGOs to protest for the sake of the intactness of the historical site. They also urged the Cambodian side to take legal actions against the Thai side.

Cambodia and Thailand have never fully demarcated their over 800-km-long land border, but the International Court in Hague ruled in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple and its surrounding area should belong to Cambodia.
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Thai PM cancels visit to Cambodia: official

PHNOM PENH, Due to the current instability in his country, Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva has canceled his visit to Cambodia originally scheduled on April 18, national media on Tuesday quoted official source as saying.

"I received official notification that (Abhisit) has canceled his trip to Phnom Penh because of the political chaos in Thailand," Koy Kuong, spokesman of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, told English-language daily newspaper the Phnom Penh Post.

Abhist was scheduled to arrive here on Saturday for talks with his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen and meeting with King Norodom Sihamoni and other senior officials.

Sry Thamrong, Hun Sen's personal advisor, told reporters last week that at least 7 out of 24 pieces of ancient Khmer artifacts will be returned to Cambodia, during Abhisit's expected visit to Cambodia.

These Khmer artifacts were stolen and trafficked out of Cambodia, but finally arrested by the Thai authorities.

Local media also reported that Hun Sen and Abhisit are expected to discuss the border disputes between the two countries during the Thai premier's visit here.
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Cambodian students depart for Japan for social study

PHNOM PENH, A Cambodian delegation of 22 people, with 20 high school students, one government official and one teacher, departed here on Monday for a 10-day trip of social study in Japan.

This has been the seventh delegation of its kind under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS) Program, according to a press release of the Embassy of Japan.

During their visit to Japan, the students will visit sites mainly related to social and cultural affairs, as well as local communities, it said.

They will participate in exchange events with Japanese youths and citizens, including home-stays, school visits, and workshop, it said.

Different from the previous delegations, the seventh one will join the delegations from nine other ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries during their visit.

The 10 countries' participants will be divided into 10 groups and each group is a mixture of students from the 10 countries, said the press release, adding that they are thus expected to enhance their friendship and mutual understanding.

Last year, 160 Cambodian youths visited Japan under the JENESYS Program, which was one of the memorable events for the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan.
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Cambodia, Laos open new border gate to boost trade, tourism

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia and Laos have opened a new border gate to improve trade and tourism, at the eve of the Khmer New Year which falls on April 14-16, said national television TVK on Monday.

"This new gate will provide more chances for trade exchange and tourism growth, and eventually benefit the two countries," Tram Iev Tek, Cambodia Minister of Public Works and Transportation, was quoted by the state-run Television Kampuchea (TVK) as telling the inauguration ceremony last week.

It will also help promote the economic cooperation within the Great Mekong Sub-region, he added.

The border gate is situated between the Trapaing Kreal area in Stung Treng province of Cambodia and the Nong Nokkhien area in Champasak province of Laos.

Also last week, Cambodia and Laos agreed to open some of their provinces for mutual transportation in order to facilitate trade and economic development.

According to the agreement, all Laotian vehicles can travel to Siem Reap province and capital city of Phnom Penh of Cambodia, and all Cambodian vehicles to Pakse province and capital city of Vientiane of Laos.
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