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Comment to the Nation: The Nation’s When Cambodia Cries Wolf
Author: Kok Sap
Date: 1 Aug 2551 20:19

1 August 2008

Dear Editor,

RE: When Cambodia Cries Wolf- August 1, 2008

I find the article is undermining justice and a good character of ASEAN member state. I write to ask you to publish my comment on such imbalanced article. In that, I wish to thank you for your consideration in matter.

Alfred Adler said it is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. I wonder aloud how potent the ASEAN newly written Charter in light of Thailand bullying Cambodia over Khmer temple Preah Vihear inscription with UNESCO. After fact it is Cambodia business anyway, what Thailand has gotten to do with its affairs?

For the past over 50 years, Thailand has accustomed to parading military as pawns to topple its legitimate or democratic elected government. Now it is mistaken to use the same tactic to bully Cambodia. Embarrassingly it failed to have a handle on its citizenry emotional outbursts and violation of Cambodia sovereignty. Squarely it is a slight to UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Cambodia integrity in both fronts: geographically and diplomatically.

As far as ASEAN own principles concerned, Thailand shows no sincerity in ratifying and in compliance to such instrument in timely manner. Yet it quacks in demand of mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity from Cambodia. It reminds me of Plato’s words,” To do injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it.” So Thailand does just that.

With that in mind it is reflective of the article own prejudice and partiality in opinion. It raises Thailand ugly injustice and contempt of international laws in undermining Cambodia delegates and government actions. In clear conscience, its author view is likened to how the tadpole measuring the sky from its well opening.

In truth, Cambodia has as much rights as next country to seek help from the available sources in matter that endangers its good identity and intent. So it has shown but the article wrongly accuses Cambodia actions:
• seeking outside help to stop Thailand from bullying its sovereignty as cry wolf,
• internationalizing the issue to tarnish Thailand’s reputation,
• undermining the great chairmanship of ASEAN in particular when Thailand taking the helm,
• Cambodia diplomats of being rough in exposing Thailand aggression and violation of member state sovereignty at the meeting in Singapore on 24 July 2008.

The author also failed to mention since 1954 after Cambodia refused to join up Thailand dysfunctional SEATO, so its foreign policy has been very pervasive toward Cambodia neutrality. In records, it is understood Thailand has had sponsored Khmer rebels and opponents of King Sihanouk rule to wage war along its border during period. The plots and ploys seemed fitting genocidal frame as it recruited Khmer ethnic from both side of its unilaterally drawn border to engage in its war of expansionism. Because of its ill-will from the past, I see ASEAN is a new breeding ground for Thailand demagogy.

Also I see the author fell short of courage to directly attack Cambodia former King Sihanouk as one of the key players in taking Thailand to court and the Non Aligned Nations Movement. At that time Thanat Khoman was enraged to organize a demonstration to insult King Sihanouk. His malice was to provoke a full scale war over International Court of Justice Preah Vihear ruling too.

Now the article casts idle threat,” For the next 18 months, Thailand will serve as the chair of ASEAN. Cambodia’s attitude will be crucial and should be closely scrutinized, as it will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of ASEAN. If Cambodia continues to threaten to use the UN and Non-Aligned Movement forums, it would certainly hamper the effectiveness of the Thai chairmanship of ASEAN.” Isn’t that obvious?

Interestingly it also pointed out,” Several ASEAN members and dialogue partners have confided to the (Thailand) Foreign Ministry that they do not support Cambodia’s efforts to push the (Khmer) temple dispute to the UN level. A (unnamed) member of the Security Council said that any internationalized issue would impact on ASEAN as a whole.”

What this unnamed member meant was a negative impact on ASEAN competence and credibility would be a boomerang effect on Thailand as chairman of ASEAN. I agree with the unnamed UN Security Council member assessment.

In viewing ASEAN chronicle, it was singlehanded and perpetuated by Thanat Khoman hidden old agendas from the 50’s. This revelation alone convinces Cambodia that it needs to do what it did to find justly support from others than ASEAN.

All can see, instead of pushing pencils, on 15 July 2008 Thailand pushes its well equipped elite 400 fighters to bully Cambodia in the middle of its general election. No doubt most of the 400 fighters may have been Khmer ethnic as usual.

Because of Thailand threat and invasion, Cambodia soldiers were deprived their voting rights. That was a plain violation of ASEAN principles of internal interference.

Looking in, one can ask whether Thailand is sincere in adherence to ASEAN one vision, one identity and one community endeavour. Up to this second, it has not ratified the Charter yet but it already instigated Cambodia to go to war. It saw opportunity to meddle Cambodia state of mind and self respect. The world knows Cambodia has been in wars since post World War II and its present ultimate sincerity is to avoid war at all cost.

Other hand Cambodia knows Thailand inner nature better than any others. As an old saying put, Siam has silver tongue as Devada but blackheart as Devathada. May be that’s why Cambodia strongly believes in third person intervention beside ASEAN when comes to deal with Thailand. Yet it has the nerves to balkanize Cambodia original intent and adherence to international laws.

Obviously the author is unaware of facts from Khmer stone inscription that Preah Vihear and Old Ayudhya was Khmer property from 900 year ago. There was no Siam not to mention Thailand then. Also let it be known, Siam royalties of Qin lineage adapted not just Khmer writing forms but royal protocol codes and language from Khmer. So the recurrent dispute over Preah Vihear historically and geographically is purportedly distorted by Thailand expansionism.

Hence it is Thailand ulterior motive to deploy its armed forces to station on Cambodia soil first. I wonder too, why Thailand ordered its fighters to disappear in the forest when foreign military attaches arrived at site.

Religiously speaking, Thailand is violating own national religion at least four of the Buddhist eight noble paths: samma vacca; samma dethika, samma kamunta and samma achiva.

In this regard, who is really crying wolf?


Kok Sap

Opinion: ASEAN Does Not Care About Preah Vihear Problem

By Kok Sap-30 July 2008

On 8 August 1967, Abdul Razak of Malaysia; S.Rajaratnam of Singapore and Thanat Khoman of Siam were hailed as the founding fathers of ASEAN. Their statements laid foundation as ASEAN Declaration. Given Preah Vihear problem, importantly let us visit what Thanat Khoman, a staunchest enemy of Sihanouk over Preah Vihear dispute in 1962, spilled his gut to woo others. Norodom Sihanouk had just put out his funny story online about Thanat Khoman insults after ICJ ruling.

Here are his words and please chew them carefully since our Khmer wise say, Siam is always hypocritical in words,” At the banquet marking the reconciliation between the three disputants, I broached the idea of forming another organization for regional cooperation with Adam Malik who agreed without hesitation but asked for time to talk with his government and also to normalize relations with Malaysia now that the confrontation was over. I therefore invited the two former members of the Association for Southeast Asia (ASA), Malaysia and the Philippines, and Indonesia, a key member, to a meeting in Bangkok. In addition, Singapore sent S. Rajaratnam, then Foreign Minister, to see me about joining the new set-up.

Although the new organization was planned to comprise only the ASA members plus Indonesia, Singapore’s request was favorably considered. The goal of ASEAN, then, is to create, not to destroy, Thanat Khoman, stressed when it was his turn to speak. The countries of Southeast Asia had no choice but to adjust to the exigencies of the time, to move toward closer cooperation and even integration, building a new society that will be responsive to the needs of our time and efficiently equipped to bring about, for the enjoyment and the material as well as spiritual advancement of our peoples, conditions of stability and progress.

Particularly what millions of men and women in our part of the world want is to erase the old and obsolete concept of domination and subjection of the past and replace it with the new spirit of give and take, of equality and partnership? More than anything else, they want to be master of their own house and to enjoy the inherent right to decide their own destiny …

They must first free themselves from the material impediments of ignorance, disease and hunger. Each of these nations cannot accomplish that alone, but by joining together and cooperating with those who have the same aspirations, these objectives become easier to attain. What we have decided today is only a small beginning of what we hope will be a long and continuous sequence of accomplishments of which we ourselves, those who will join us later and the generations to come, can be proud.

Let it be for Southeast Asia, a potentially rich region, rich in history, in spiritual as well as material resources and indeed for the whole ancient continent of Asia, the light of happiness and well-being that will shine over the uncounted millions of our struggling people. In recognition of services rendered by His Excellency Adam Malik to the ASEAN organization, the name of which was suggested by him.”

Over the concerns of Thailand intrusion, ASEAN dodged Cambodia request for intervention as George Yeo insinuated Thailand had never been colonized like others in SE Asia so its core of foreign affairs officers are professional to deal with Preah Vihear problem. However if we look at the Fundamental Principles of ASEAN, which reveals Siam is the most hypocritical member.

ASEAN Member Countries have adopted the following fundamental principles in their relations with one another, as contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC):

•mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, and national identity of all nations;

•the right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coercion;

•non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;

•settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful manner;

•renunciation of the threat or use of force; and

•effective cooperation among themselves.

So obviously George Yeo is playing favoritism while the Chairmanship is passed down to Thailand on 24 July 2008.

Now after we acquaint our selves with some crash history, we know and understand why ASEAN behaved the way it did to Cambodia request. So we say,’ hang the dog master when dog bite.

In this case ASEAN master was Thanat Khoman who belittled King Sihanouk then and Cambodia sovereignty and territorial integrity from the start of his ASEAN Declaration.

Clearly ASEAN is a farce of diplomacy for SE Asia. May be it is not a bad idea to revive the non-align movement once led by India to counter ASEAN bias and prejudice toward Khmer sovereignty and integrity.

Open Letter to Mr. Chairman George Yeo

24 July 2008

H.E Mr. George Yeo, Chairman
The ASEAN Secretariat
70A, Jalan Sisingamangaraja
Jakarta 12110- Indonesia
Tel: (6221) 7262991, 7243372
Fax: (6221) 7398234, 7243504

Subject: Thailand Bullying Cambodia

Dear Mr. Yeo,

Per Chapter I Article 2 Principles stipulate each Member State shall comply with the Charter instruments. Apparently Thailand has not ratified the Charter yet. However its callous conducts deem proper action from ASEAN. It provokes Cambodia to respond with high alert of war level. It is Thailand responsibility in own mishandling of political and handful of unruly. Yet its politicians and diplomats are playing monkey lading rice on goat mouth game.

For Cambodia stance, as much I wished to have an alternative in government but by rights and because of its past tragedies due to neighbors’s subjugation; it needs to do what it does.

To my dismay, ASEAN one vision, one identity, one community seems antagonizing Cambodia appeal although it has already done preventive steps before Preah Vihear listing occurred:

1. For the last 2 years, Cambodia has cordially asked Thailand to cooperate on the inscription of Preah Vihear with UNESCO;

2. Thailand Foreign Minister has agreed to endorse Cambodia via communiqué signed in Paris last May 2008;

3. Cambodia seeks Thailand mutual respect for the legal WJC ruling in 1962 and Thai –Franco accepted map 1904-1907;

4. Cambodia ratified ASEAN Charter on 02 April 2008 and deposited on 18 April 2008;

5. Days ago upon UNESCO inscription of Preah Vihear, Thailand armed forces invaded Cambodia on 15 July 2008.

Mr. Chairman, it is an outrage that Thailand is bullying Cambodia, yet ASEAN ado nothing to stop it. Thailand has patterns of abuse and cavalier nature in annexing Cambodia territory. This reminds us the irony of mainland Malaysia sovereignty was undermined prior to 1965.

Thailand present attitude reminded us its profound racial driven hatred in 1979 when it had willfully committed genocidal acts against Cambodia 49,000 refugees. Refugees were secretly herded then transported for dumping off at Preah Vihear death cliff while its armed forces firing upon the crowd to run into land mines planted along narrow paths in dense jungles. In this single slaughtering, thousands were killed, maimed and left to death in starvation. Now Preah Vihear déjà vu is returned by the same sender.

Thailand is in violation of UN 1949 Universal Human Rights Charter and 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention. Many scholars remain stunned to date how ruthless Thailand was. Yesterday Thailand Diplomat at UN insulted Cambodia is good in crocodile tear. It is diplomatically unbecoming for such condescending remark.
Mr. Chairman, at this point, Thailand shows no good will to withdraw its armed forces from or cooperate with Cambodia. What good of ASEAN Charter competence? That I fear Edmund Burke words ring truth in the situation, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for the good men to do nothing. Indeed, evil is evil does.

In by all means, I thank you for your time.

Kok Sap
Khmer Refugee in US


Written by Kham

28/08/2008 at 2:05 am

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