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ខ្មែរ, សៀម FMs pledge to intensify bilateral cooperation…Sen fears Yingluck’s spell

PHNOM PENH, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s foreign minister Hor Namhong and his visiting Thai counterpart Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Thursday agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in all fields for the interests of both people and countries.

“We had agreed to strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation on trade, investment, tourism, and humanitarian activities,” Hor Namhong told reporters in a joint press briefing after a one-hour meeting with Surapong.

Both sides agreed to work together to open a new Stung Bath border checkpoint near Poipet checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province as soon as possible to cope with the increasing growth of goods and tourists between the two nations, he said.

On the border issue side, both sides agreed to implement the Order of the International Court of Justice dated July 18, 2011 in regard with the immediate withdrawal of Cambodian and Thai military personnel from the Provisional Demilitarized Zone of about 17 kilometers on the disputed border near Preah Vihear temple and allow ASEAN observers access to the zone to monitor ceasefire.

The two ministers also pledged to speed up talks on negotiations on the plan for the joint development of Overlapping Claim Area (OCA) in the Gulf of Thailand, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas.

Surapong said, “The meeting was held in a friendly, warm and mutual faithful atmosphere and had created closer cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand.”

He added that Thailand is scheduled to host the 8th Thailand- Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission meeting on Feb. 29-March 1, 2012 in order to work on border demarcation on areas outside Preah Vihear temple.

There are remaining 25 border poles need to be searched and demarcated outside the area of Preah Vihear temple, said Hor Namhong, adding that for the border demarcation at the area of Preah Vihear temple, it has to wait until the ICJ interprets the judgment of 1962 on the case concerning the temple of Preah Vihear temple.

Cambodia and Thailand have had sporadic border conflict over territorial dispute near Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple since the UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008 and witnessed fierce border fighting in February and April during the Thai’s Democrat-led administration.

However, the military tension has eased since the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party won a landslide victory in the general elections on July 3.

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