BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) has already prepared troop and its actions against the Thai offensive and invasion in case they open their fighting or invading into Cambodian territory after Cambodia's management plan for the Preah Vihear temple was accepted by the World Heritage Committee’s consideration in Brazil.
General Chhum Socheat, Under Secretary of State and the Spokesperson in the Ministry of the National Defense, said Cambodia has already planned and prepared for any Thai offensive or invasion, if there is fighting caused by the Thai’s after the Cambodia’s management for Preah Vihear Temple was accepted by the UNESCO’s Heritage Committee on July 30th.
The Spokesperson Chhum Socheat added that despite Cambodia being a small country it is not afraid with the bigger countries which intend to invade Cambodia’s borders, integrated territory and sovereignty.
“Although Cambodia is a small country we are not afraid to fight against any big country which aims to invade our territory and sovereignty. We are now ready to defend our borders, , we have enough military equipments and weapons to fight against the foreign invasion,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly during a telephone interview on July 30th.
He added that so far, Cambodia has already planned and prepared its troops with modern military equipment, communities and weapons for fighting in case the Thai’s begin its offensive into Cambodian military side.
General Chea Dara, Deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces (RCAF) and Commander of Preah Vihear Temple Direction and Frontline, said that currently, the situation of Cambodian-Thai military is very tense, while Cambodia has proposed its management plan for the Preah Vihear Temple for the World Heritage Committee’s consideration in Brazil.
However, General Chea Dara continued to say that although there is military tension between the two sides, Cambodian soldiers are not worrying because they have planned and prepared for this offensive with the Thais for over two years now.
“We are not afraid and do not worry about fighting with the Thai’s because our troops under the wise leadership and order from Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, have been well positioned and prepared for this fighting and protection of the Preah Vihear Temple for many years,” he told The Southeast Asia Weekly by telephone.
He added that so far, Cambodian soldiers have been deployed and positioning along Cambodian-Thai borders, and were also equipped with modern weapons and other facilities.
“Our soldiers are ready to fight and defend our Preah Vihear Temple as well as our territory and sovereignty in case the Thai’s invaded and fire into our side,” he said.
On July 23, H.E. Dr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Council of Ministers, led a delegation to attend the Annual Meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Brazil. The Annual Meeting of World Heritage Committee has taken place from the 25th of July to the 3rd of August 2010 in Brazil with the participation of over 180 countries.
During the World Heritage Committee’s meeting, H.E. Dr. Sok An has submitted Cambodia’s management plan for Preah Vihear Temple. Cambodia’s management plan included roads, schools, health centres, irrigation systems, dams, and museum centre constructions in the areas surrounding Preah Vihear Temple in the near future.
According to H.E. Dr. Sok An, the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has received Cambodia’s management proposal but the decision on Preah Vihear management plan will feature in the next meeting in Bahrain in 2011.
Preah Vihear Temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July in 2008. The approval of Cambodia’s bid to have Preah Vihear Temple registered with UNESCO triggered protests in Thailand and a sustained military build-up along the border by the two countries.
Preah Vihear Temple was ruled to the Kingdom of Cambodia by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1962 after former King Norodom Sihanouk has issued it to the ICJ from the Thai military invasion in 1950s.