Thai Bad Loser Attitude

Michael Hayes’ damaging misapprehension

Michael Hayes, in an article published on 17 February 2011 by The Phnom Penh Post under the title: “The view from Cambodia,” is not “a spin doctor for the government of Cambodia” as he mentioned about himself, but he is certainly a spin doctor for Thailand, when he suggested that: “As for the disputed 4.6 square kilometres just north of the temple, why not consider this: Turn the area into the Cambodian-Thai International Friendship Park and set it up as a jointly managed enterprise by both countries’ Ministries of Tourism. Invite in hawkers, entrepreneurs, whatever, from both sides of the border to set up businesses to cater to the millions of tourists who will want to visit the site in the coming decades and beyond. Tax revenues could be shared by both nations equally. Everybody wins.”

No, not everybody wins. Michael Hayes loves to see Thailand win and Cambodia lose. Instead, Michael Hayes should suggest that Thailand must respect international treaties, of which Thailand (or Siam) was, is and will be the party to the treaties.

Siam (now Thailand) signed the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 13 February 1904 setting up a Mixed Commission composed of French Commission and Siamese Commission to delimit the frontier line between Cambodia (that was part of French Indochina) and Siam. In the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear, a map of the Dangrek sector known as “The Dangrek Map” among a set of 11 maps published under this treaty recognised and accepted by Siam, is the insoluble evidence that an international frontier line, stable and final, existed almost a century ago and continues to exist between Cambodia and Thailand. Being former publisher and editor-in-chief of The Phnom Penh Post, and under this circumstance writing and publishing on Cambodian affairs where all eyes may yet see Michael Hayes as an expert in the matter, I found it to be a shocking disappointment, despite a certain number of things interesting, good and fair that are actually presented in the article.

The International Court of Justice’s Judgment of 15 June 1962 is the reaffirmation that there is an international frontier line, stable and final between Cambodia and Thailand as evidenced by the Dangrek map known to be ANNEX I to Memorial of Cambodia or ANNEX I map.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand on the Survey and Demarcation of Land Boundary, actually known as MOU 2000, requires that the survey and demarcation shall be jointly conducted in accordance with:

  • The Convention between France and Siam modifying the stipulations of the Treaty of the 3 October 1893, regarding Territorial Boundaries and other Agreements, signed at Paris, 13 February 1904;
  • The Treaty between His Majesty the King of Siam and the President of the French Republic, signed at Bangkok, 23 March 1907, and the Protocol concerning the delimitation of boundaries and annexed to the Treaty of 23 March 1907;
  • Maps which are the results of demarcation works of the Commissions of Delimitations of the Boundary between Indo-China and Siam set up under the Convention of 1904 and the Treaty of 1907 between France and Siam and other documents relating to the application of the above Convention and Treaty.


Based on the above international and legal documents, the “4.6 sq kms” exists only in the imagination and fabrication of Thailand, and the suggestion of Michael Hayes, as I quoted here above, is feeding quite well into the campaign of intoxication of the international public opinion conducted consistently and shamelessly by Thailand for the “joint management” of a Cambodian piece of property against Cambodian will. Naturally, Cambodia will develop the area of the Temple of Preah Vihear in conformity with UNESCO and the World Heritage standards. It is a slanderous suggestion aimed to spoil and to hurt the intelligence, kindness and good nature of the Cambodian people made by Michael Hayes, who thinks that “tax revenues” will blind the Cambodian leaders seeking to enrich themselves with Thailand investments. As the matter of fact, Michael Hayes’ article was picked up in its entirety by the Bangkok Post Online News on 20 February 2011 under the title: “The view from across the border”. Without getting into unfair accusations, it is fair to think that Michael Hayes has not yet cleansed himself of the grudges he had against Cambodia and the former Second Prime Minister, Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

The point I wish to make here is that Michael Hayes, or anyone else, or anyone of the stature of former President of Singapore Lee Kwan Yew or former President Jimmy Carter of the United States of America, as suggested by Pinn Siraprapasiri in “Thailand and Cambodia need a ‘Jimmy Carter’ mediator”, published in The Nation on 18 February 2011, to be successful his or her job would be to convince Thailand to respect and to abide by the treaties of which Thailand is the party to those treaties.

At Jakarta, on 22 February 2011, the business is very specific.

The members of the United Nations Social Security Council (UNSC) in a meeting on 14 February, following the plea of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, about the gravity of the conditions created by Thailnd’s war of aggression against Cambodia, took note that (i) a war broke out, (ii) there are losses of lives and properties, (iii) tens of thousands of people face insecurity and uncertainty every day, and these calamities must be stopped, “urge the parties to establish a permanent ceasefire and to implement it fully,” and recommended that “the idea is to work in synergy with the regional efforts – and right now regional efforts are in full force – and resolve the situation peacefully and through effective dialogue.” It is for those reasons that foreign ministers of ASEAN will meet on 22 February at Jakarta under the chairmanship of the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, Marty Natalegwa.

Will we have a permanent ceasefire? Why not? Will the ceasefire be implemented fully? Why not? I bet on ASEAN’s astuteness, despite the fact that Thailand has a reputation of “a difficult child”.

Confusion and misapprehension will benefit Thailand to the detriment of Cambodia. Clarity will bring justice and equity to Cambodia. I intended that Michael Hayes be clear about the Cambodian affairs in relation to Thailand’s war of aggression in the following sequences: (i) establishment of a permanent ceasefire under UNSC’s recommendation, (ii) full implementation of the ceasefire under the UNSC’s recommendation, (iii) demarcation of the land boundary under MOU 2000.

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Blunt Message to Thailand: Respect & Implement ICJ Verdict 1962 (from EU Parliament)

European Parliament resolution of 17 February 2011 on the border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia
The European Parliament ,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 13 January 2005, 10 March 2005, 19 January 2006, 15 March 2007 and 21 October 2010 on Cambodia and its resolutions of 20 May 2010 on Thailand and of 1 December 2005 on the human rights situation in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam,

–  having regard to the judgment of the International Court of Justice of 15 June 1962 in the case concerning the temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand),

–  having regard to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which has been signed by both Thailand and Cambodia,

–  having regard to the statement by the Secretary-General of ASEAN of 5 February 2011,

–  having regard to the statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, of 7 February 2011,

–  having regard to the statement by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, of 7 February 2011,

–  having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas, since the beginning of February 2011, there has been fighting between the armed forces of Thailand and Cambodia on the Cambodian-Thai border, including near the temple of Preah Vihear,

B.  whereas the border clashes started after a Cambodian court sentenced two Thai nationals to up to eight years’ imprisonment, having found them guilty of espionage and illegal entry after they crossed into the disputed border area in December 2010, and whereas the sentence immediately followed the successful conclusion of the seventh meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia (JC), on 3-4 February 2011, at which both countries had agreed to extend cooperation in all areas and to hold a meeting of the Joint Commission on Demarcation for the Land Boundary (JBC) in Thailand in the near future,

C.  whereas the temple of Preah Vihear has been the centre of recurring boundary disputes between Thailand and Cambodia over the last century,

D.  whereas the International Court of Justice ruled on 15 June 1962 that the temple of Preah Vihear is situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia,

E.  whereas the temple of Preah Vihear, which was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site on 7 July 2008, has allegedly been damaged by shelling during the recent border clashes,

F.  whereas the international community has a special responsibility to preserve the monuments on the UNESCO World Heritage list,

G.  whereas reports state that there have been fatal casualties and injured soldiers and civilians on both sides, and that thousands of civilians in the surrounding area have had to be evacuated,

H.  whereas, according to several news reports, cluster munitions may have been used, and whereas neither Thailand nor Cambodia has ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions,

I.  whereas the worsening of the situation on the border between Thailand and Cambodia is threatening peace and stability in the region,

J.  whereas Indonesia, the current chair of ASEAN, has stepped up its diplomatic efforts to help the two sides reach a temporary solution so as to trigger bilateral mechanisms for realising the objectives of border demarcation and general peace in the area; whereas the chair of ASEAN is encouraging the two countries to hold talks under the existing framework of the Thai-Cambodian Joint Commission on Demarcation for the Land Boundary,

K.  whereas the ASEAN Charter provides for the establishment of a dispute-settlement mechanism that would increase the scope for assisting in the resolution of bilateral disputes,

L.  whereas the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has expressed her intention to send a mission to assess the state of the Preah Vihear temple,

1.  Condemns the border clashes between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand and urges all parties to exercise the utmost restraint and take the steps necessary to reduce tension, to resume their dialogue with a view to resolving their differences peacefully, and to accept the assistance of ASEAN and the United Nations;

2.  Deplores the loss of life during the recent border clashes and expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims;

3.  Urges both governments to ensure that the civilians displaced as a consequence of the armed clashes are provided with the aid they need;

4.  Calls on both countries to respect the 1962 judgment of the International Court of Justice and to reach a peaceful settlement of the dispute regarding the border area close to the Preah Vihear temple;

5.  Calls on both countries to ensure that their actions do not violate Article 4(1) of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which forbids any use of cultural property situated within their own territory, or within the territory of other High Contracting Parties, which is likely to expose it to destruction or damage in the event of armed conflict, and to refrain from any act of hostility directed against such property;

6.  Calls on the Thai and Cambodian authorities to comply with the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and, in particular, with its fundamental principles on the settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful means, renunciation of the threat or use of force, and effective cooperation among the High Contracting Parties;

7.  Welcomes the efforts undertaken by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, as ASEAN chair, to facilitate dialogue between the two countries so that the dispute can be resolved in a peaceful manner;

8.  Welcomes the fact that Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to participate in an urgent meeting of South-East Asian nations to discuss the border conflict;

9.  Welcomes the decision by the Director-General of UNESCO to send a special envoy on a mission of good offices to Bangkok and Phnom Penh; urges both sides in the dispute to cooperate with any UNESCO mission to assess the damage caused to the Preah Vihear temple;

10.  Calls on both countries to find a solution that will allow direct access from their respective territories to the Preah Vihear temple, and not to obstruct one another’s citizens entering the temple or the border area;

11.  Expresses its concern about the alleged use of cluster munitions and calls on both countries to refrain from using such munitions under any circumstances;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, the UN Secretary-General, the UNESCO Director-General and the governments of the ASEAN Member States.

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Preah Vihear – a Non Negotiable Item


Ever since June 2008, the Preah Vihear issue has been one of the main topics covered by the Khmer and regional media, but as media reports, they lack the necessary historical perspective that is paramount to accurate understanding of the problem. Reminding rightfully that the Preah Vihear Temple was «awarded to Cambodia by a 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice» does not help much to understanding the case and adding that « but the Court failed to rule on the border demarcation» is nothing less than a masterpiece of disinformation. For the present situation at the Khmer-Thai border is indeed the sole result of Thailand’s about-faces and power politics.

The Preah Vihear problem started in June 1954, when Thai troops were sent to occupy the Temple which led to the breaking off of diplomatic relations between the two kingdoms. After five years of unfruitful negotiations, the Kingdom of Cambodia decided — with the agreement of the Thai Government — to bring the case before the International Court of Justice of The Hague on October 6, 1959.

In an article published in Kambuja in 1967, then-Prince Sihanouk reminded: « As for Thailand, is it really necessary to explain once again that, before we submitted the Preah Vihear Case to the International Court of Justice (I.C.J.), we had proposed to the Thai Government that this sacred fane should be jointly administered by our two governments on the sole condition that Thailand should officially recognize Cambodia’s sovereign rights over this “high place”. The Bangkok Government however, flatly declined to entertain such a proposal, but agreed that the case should be submitted to the International Court OfJustice at The Hague.»

«In the course of the ensuing months, when the case was being examined by the Court, the Thai representative, Prince Wongsamahip, proposed that both parties should undertake not to contest the verdict, whichever way the case might go, to which Cambodia solemnly agreed

«Following the decision by the Court confirming Cambodia’s sovereign rights over this temple, the Thais ignored the undertaking they had given, however, and refused to accept the Court’s decision».

On August 6, 2010, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Abhisit Vejjajiva, was quoted as saying to his followers «If you’re talking about wanting it back [the Preah Vihear Temple], I have no dierent desire as you guys. We lost the temple in BE 2505 (1962) during Field Marshal Salit [Thanrat]». Somehow, this statement looks like an explicit and official recognition of the 1962 ruling of the ICJ, as far as the sovereignty of Cambodia over the Temple is concerned.

However, pretending not to question the Cambodian sovereignty over the Temple anymore, Thailand rather claims a 4.6 square km plot of land surrounding the Temple asserting that «the Court failed to rule on the border demarcation». Although this assertion can be read in nearly every report about the issue — including in Khmer media — it is a jewel of disinformation.

Back in 1954, and later before the Court, Thailand pleaded that the maps drawn by the Franco-Siamese Commission to delimitate borders between Thailand and Cambodia in 1904-1907 did not respect the watershed line in this specific area of the Dangrek Mountains where the Preah Vihear Temple is located. This very same argument is now used again by the Thai Government and is widely spread by the media to support the idea that the so-called «border issue» is a legal case to be solved between Thailand and Cambodia.

The Preah Vihear issue was and still is to be regarded as a unilateral denouncement by Thailand of the 1907 Border Treaty between France and Siam, and, more specifically, of the maps annexed to the Treaty. The ensuing dispute between Cambodia and Thailand was judged as such by the ICJ. In the merits of the judgement, page 32, the Court ruled: «Even if there were any doubt as to Siam’s acceptance of the map in 1908, and hence of the frontier indicated thereon, the Court would consider, in the light of the subsequent course of events, that Thailand is now precluded by her conduct from asserting that she did not accept it. She has, for fifty years, enjoyed such benefits as the Treaty of 1904 conferred on her… It is not now


open to Thailand, while continuing to claim and enjoy the bene$ts of the settlement, to deny that she was ever a consenting party to it.

The Court however considers that Thailand in 1908-1909 did accept the Annex 1 map as representing the outcome of the work of delimitation, and hence recognized the line on that map as being the frontier line».

From these extracts, and more specifically the last sentence, the ruling was obviously not only about the Temple itself, it was about the border delimitation as resulting from the maps drawn in 1907 by the Franco-Siamese Commission. It is not only an explicit but it is most of all a de jure recognition of the borders as they appear on the maps.

Furthermore, in 2000, the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia signed a Memorandum of Understanding of which article 1 stipulates: «The survey and demarcation of land boundary between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand shall be jointly conducted in accordance with the following documents:

…(c) Maps which are the results of demarcation works of Commissions de Délimitation de la Frontière entre l’Indo-Chine et le Siam (the Commissions of Delimitation of the Boundary between Indo-China and Siam) set up under the Convention of 1904 and the Treaty of 1907 between France and Siam, and other documents relating to the application of the Convention of 1904 and the Treaty of 1907 between France and Siam».

These maps are now flatly dismissed by Thailand in every bilateral talks about the Preah Vihear issue, in blatant violation with its prior international commitments and despite they are the only available and internationally recognized documents defining the borders between the two countries. Instead, Thailand wants to impose its own maps drawn along the watershed line, in full contempt of the 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice.

Then-Prince Sihanouk used to experience Thailand’s about-faces. In the same 1967 paper he also wrote: «It is worthy of note, therefore, that, after the Thais had initially agreed to recognize the competence of The Hague Court and had later undertaken to abide by its verdict, the Bangkok Government failed to observe this undertaking, and refused to accept the Court’s decision». The same stands true today. After Thailand

formally agreed that the boundary demarcation between the two countries should rely on the 1907 maps and all related documents, it just unilaterally contends that those maps cannot be used.

The Thai’s agenda was genuinely revealed by Puangthong Pawakapan, a Thai assistant professor in international relations at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, in an interview to IPS on August 3, 2010, «To solve the territorial dispute, both sides have to be sensitive to each other’s concerns. There has to be give and take». How can a university professor ignores that, as a matter of principle, there can be no

more «give and take» once a legal case is ruled? This simply proves that what is widely considered a «border conflict» is in reality a political issue in which a powerful country uses military means to put a weaker neighbor under threat.

Referring to the Soviet Union, President John F. Kennedy once said: «We cannot negotiate with those who say: What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable». On June 25, 2008, when he was then an opposition leader, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva unequivocally said that «Thailand had never accepted the map that Cambodia presented to the World Court in 1962». He also added that «Thailand intended to seek the return of Preah Vihearwhen the opportunity arose“». Nothing could be clearer. In this regard, does it mean that, for the sake of peace, Cambodia is compelled to negotiate what is legitimately and legally hers? Is it really what international law is about?

If, otherwise, ASEAN is really willing to help broker a peaceful settlement to the conflict, within the legal frameworks of existing conventions, treaties and agreements between Cambodia and Thailand, the first step would surely be to find a way to enforce the 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice of the Hague, because it is not the 4.6 square km of land surrounding the Temple which is at stake: it is the Judgement itself that is being dismissed by the Abhisit’s administration.

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Democrats Led Thai Not Trustworthy Government

Street led Thai Government is not a trustworthy partner in international negotiations

On Monday, February 14, 2011, the United Nations Security Council will convene on the request of Cambodia to discuss the Thai-Cambodian border issue. While this meeting is doubtlessly a victory for the Cambodian diplomacy, the only question that matters for the Cambodian people is: will it help achieve a lasting solution?

To everyone, the Thai-Cambodian issue seems to be a simple border conflict as reported world wide by the media and as Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa stated «it is a common border dispute like many others among ASEAN countries». Because of this perception of the problem, the French Foreign Ministry offered France’s help by providing the maps annexed to the 1907 Franco-Siamese Treaty that delimited the frontiers between Siam and Cambodia. The offer was swiftly turned down by the Thai Government. This dismissal clearly shows that, from the Thai point of view, the conflict is not a matter of border demarcation.

Over the last two years, the Cambodian diplomacy unsuccessfully and hopelessly tried to have the Thai side accepting those maps drawn between 1904 and 1908 as the basis for their border negotiations as they constitute the only legal internationally recognized documents about the Thai-Cambodian border. The Thai dismissal of these maps has to be understood as a blatant rebuff of the June 15, 1962, Judgement of the International Court of Justice of the Hague, as the ruling was entirely based on the Franco-Chinese maps that were annexed to the ruling.
This far, the Thai stance has obviously been to arrogantly and unilaterally wipe out any legal frameworks. So, what will the UN Security Council meeting be about? The only outcome of the meeting to be reasonably expected is a resolution calling both parties to peacefully settle their dispute. If it were so, then the meeting would be useless as it would only provide another legal frameworks to be rejected by Thailand and leave Cambodia prey to its power politics.

In this regard, the UNSC has to consider, not only the armed confrontation between the two countries, but the bellicose declarations that were made by Thai leaders. On June 25, 2008, when he was then an opposition leader, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that «Thailand had never accepted the map that Cambodia presented to the World Court in 1962». He also added that «Tailand intended to seek the return of Preah Vihear “when the opportunity arose”». Question is: By what means? The answer was bluntly given on February, 9, 2011, by street opposition leader Sondhi Limthongkul when he urged the Thai military «to seize Cambodian territory, including Angkor Wat, to barter for Preah Vihear Temple». Democrats led Thailand clearly chose to become an international outlaw.

To be successful, the UNSC meeting has to be a first step towards finding a lasting solution that is, to begin with, to protect Cambodia, not from small clashes, but from a large scale open conflict as the far superiorly equipped Thai military is building up along the 800 kilometer border between the two countries.

In this regard, the most important — and the trickiest — problem to be considered by the UNSC is surely the reliability and the relevance of an international outlaw Thai government that does not even care pretending to respect its own agreements. Then how can the current street-led Thai government be a trustworthy partner in any negotiation?

Without a reliable negotiation partner, Cambodia needs the international protection, the same as she needed during the reign of Pol Pot and that was refused to her. It is to be hoped that this time, the international community would have learnt the lesson and not pretend to give justice to the Cambodian people thirty years later.

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