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Siam netizen acclaim delegation at ICJ over border dispute with Cambodia

BANGKOK, April 18 (Xinhua) — As Thai delegation were presented oral arguments to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the disputed border area between Thailand and Cambodia at the Hague, the Netherlands, words of admiration by Thai netizen of the Thai team’s performance at the court were widely spread on social networking sites.

“Let’s give moral support to Virachai Plasai, head of legal team in the case,” read a message widely shared on Facebook by Thais.

Virachai, also Thailand’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, told the ICJ on Wednesday that Thailand spotted irregularities of map presented by Cambodia during its presentation of its statement on the case earlier on Monday. The map was different to the one attached in its petition to the court.

“There exists different versions of this map, the lines on which cannot be transposed to the actual topography without causing further problems. Cambodia even altered the map Thailand presented in the original Case and submitted as its own evidence in the present case,” according to Thai Foreign Ministry’s press release clarifying the point presented in the court.

The argument about the irregularity of the map presented by Virachai had impressed many Thais as they see it a very strong argument against Cambodia. “You are the best, Virachai. You’ve done your best to protect our homeland,” a comment on Facebook read.

On Wednesday, Thai delegation was at the presentation of oral arguments to the International Court of Justice in the public hearings in the Case Concerning the Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case Concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand).

Apart from Virachai, the delegation of Thailand includes Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Phongtep Thepkanjana, and Minister of Defence Sukumpol Suwanatat.

The ICJ had accepted Cambodia’s request to reinterpret its 1962 ruling, which awarded ownership of the ancient hindu Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia but did not mention the disputed area immediately surrounding it.

The hearings on the border dispute are scheduled to be held from April 15 to 19 with both sides preparing to present their arguments. The ruling will not be delivered until October or November this year.

Also Cambodia on Monday said the right way to determine the temple’s “vicinity” is to follow the lines on a map of 1:200,000 scale called “Annex I map” which includes the disputed 4.6 square kilometers area. Thailand, however, argued that Cambodia saw nothing wrong with Thailand’s actions regarding the border line until 2007, when Phnom Penh wanted additional areas adjacent to the temple to be included in the inscription of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site.

“The disputed 4.6 square kilometres area was not at the core of the conflict in the previous case, and is larger than the area that Cambodia claimed in the original case, which was only 0.35 square kilometres,” stated the press release.

The historic temple was declared as a World Heritage site in 2008 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The enlisting in 2008 as the World Heritage site heated the border, resulted in several rounds of skirmish at the border.

Also on Wednesday, anti-Cambodia activists tried to raise the Thai flag in a disputed border area but were turned away by Thai authorities.

Leaders of the group, Preecha Iamsuphan and Veeraphan Malaiphan, believed to be affiliated with the nationalist People’s Alliance for Democracy, said the protesters wanted to fly the flag in the border area as a symbolic gesture to show the area belongs to Thailand.

The protesters later dispersed without any violence.

The general climate along the border near the temple has been normal so far.


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