A small success

Thai Patriot Network members (above) and their PAD allies belittle the government's dealings with Cambodia, but yesterday the government did have one success in the removal of the controversial tablet

Lt GenTawatchai Samutsakhon(right), the 2nd Army commander, joins in the demolition of the tablet reading ‘‘Here! is Cambodia’’. The sign was smashed into pieces after he negotiated with his Cambodian counterpart to destroy it yesterday.

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Tablet talks a smashing success

Cambodia demolishes claim to border area

Wassana Nanuam

Growing border tensions have eased again now that Cambodia has demolished a stone tablet that claimed it owned a disputed area.

"It has now ended," Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told the press yesterday after he received a report from the army that the tablet had been destroyed.

The prime minister said Thailand had protested against the stone sign being erected in the disputed area and Cambodia had shown it was prepared to cooperate, which was a positive step.

Cambodia's decision to demolish the controversial tablet came after a tense Tuesday night at the border.

Both countries reinforced troops near the Preah Vihear temple and put them on full alert after Cambodia replaced the original tablet which accused Thai soldiers of trespassing with a new one. The new tablet carried an even stronger message, declaring that the disputed area in which it had been erected belonged to Cambodia.

The 2nd Army, responsible for the border area, moved in troops and heavy war weapons and conducted military training near the area.

The tablet was placed in front of Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara temple which is near the Preah Vihear temple. The stone was replaced on the weekend on the orders of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen but the new message was more aggressive, reading "Here! is Cambodia".

After receiving an order to "do anything" to get Cambodia to remove the new tablet, at around 11am yesterday, Lt Gen Tawatchai Samutsakhon, the 2nd Army commander, led about 20 armed soldiers to Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara temple to demand the Cambodian troops remove the new tablet.

Four companies of soldiers were deployed at the foot of the hill and were ordered to be ready to act.

The 2nd Army chief asked Cambodian commanders why they had erected the tablet as both sides had promised not to build anything to claim territory in the disputed area. The Cambodian authorities replied that their foreign ministry had told them to put the tablet there.

Lt Gen Tawatchai asked them to destroy it to ease the discomfort of the Thai soldiers and people.

"If you don't remove such a negative tablet, I will erect a "Here! is Thailand" tablet nearby as well," Lt Gen Tawatchai told his Cambodian counterparts.

After an hour of negotiations, the Cambodians agreed to destroy the tablet.

"I don't know why they agreed. At about 12.15pm, Cambodia had its soldiers destroy the new tablet. I watched them do it. I smashed it too. I wanted to participate," Lt Gen Tawatchai said.

"I spoke to them nicely and stuck to the reason of what could happen if the tablet remained.

"We are neighbours and should coexist peacefully. No one would like a war and then they agreed," said the 2nd Army chief who previously received a medal for bravery after taking part in a battle at the Chon Bok border pass in Ubon Ratchathani following a territorial dispute involving Thailand, Cambodia and Laos in 1987.

"Before ascending to the temple, I told them beforehand that I would be there and Gen Chea Dara, their deputy supreme commander, and Lt Gen Sai Deuk, the commander of their 4th regional army, were waiting for me," Lt Gen Tawatchai said.

He said the 2nd Army is now deploying five paramilitary rangers to stay with Cambodian soldiers at their 795 border patrol base behind Kaew Sikha Khiri Sawara temple to coordinate with them.

belittle – to make somebody or the things that somebody does seem unimportant ดูถูก,ดูแคลน,เหยียดหยาม
commander – the head of an army or army unit ผู้บังคับบัญชา
demolition – complete destruction การรื้อถอน, การทำลาย
tablet – a flat piece of stone that has words written on it แผ่นจารึก
smash – to break something noisily into many pieces by dropping or hitting it with a lot of force ทำให้แตกเป็นเสี่ยงๆ, ทำให้แตกเป็นชิ้นๆ
negotiate – to try to reach an agreement by discussing something in a formal way เจรจาต่อรอง
counterpart – someone who has the same job or purpose as another person or thing, but in a different country, time, situation, or organisation  ผู้ที่อยู่ในตำแหน่งเสมอกัน (ในอีกประเทศหนึ่ง)
smashing success – a great success (the headline writer is playing with the word “smash” because the tablet was actually smashed)
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries  เขตแดน อาณาเขต
tensions – the feelings caused by a lack of trust between people, groups or countries who do not agree about something and may attack each other ความตึงเครียด
ease – to make a problem, situation or pain less severe or serious บรรเทา
claim – to say that you have the right to have or own something, especially land or property อ้างสิทธิ
disputed area – an area claimed by two or more countries, groups or people  พื้นที่ที่เป็นกรณีพิพาท
press – newspapers and magazines, and those parts of television and radio which broadcast news, or reporters and photographers who work for them สื่อมวลชน
protest – a strong complaint or disagreement การประท้วง
erect – to put the parts of something together so that it stands upright  ตั้งขึ้น
cooperate – to work together with other people to achieve a result that is good for everyone involved การร่วมมือกันระหว่าง
positive – in a good way ในทางบวก
step – one of a series of actions that you do in order to achieve a particular aim ขั้นตอน
controversial – causing disagreement ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง
reinforce – to make a group of police or soldiers stronger by adding more people or equipment to it เสริมกำลังเจ้าหน้าที่
alert – prepared to deal with something dangerous ตื่นตัว ระวัง
trespassing – going onto someone's land or enter their building without permission การบุกรุก,การรุกล้ำ
declare – to announce officially that something is true or happening ประกาศ
responsible for – to have a duty to do something มีความรับผิดชอบ, มีความรับผิดชอบ
troops – soldiers, especially in large numbers กองทหาร
conduct – to do something in an organised way; to carry out — ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
replace – to put something new in place of something old  นำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน
aggressive – behaving in an angry and violent way towards another person ก้าวร้าว
armed – carrying a weapon  ติดอาวุธ
demand – to ask for something very firmly เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ
remove – to take something away เอาออกจาก
company – a group of soldiers or police that is usually divided into two or more smaller groups กองร้อย
deploy – (of police or soldiers) to put in place ready for action ส่ง (ทหารตำรวจ) ประจำการ
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
discontent – the unhappy feeling that you have when you are not satisfied with something ไม่พอใจ
negative – bad ที่เป็นด้านลบ
participate – to take part in or become involved in an activity มีส่วน
coexist – to exist together in the same place or at the same time, especially in a peaceful way การดำรงอยู่ร่วมกัน
medal – a flat piece of metal, usually shaped like a coin, that is given to the winner of a competition or to somebody who has been brave, for example in war เหรียญรางวัล
bravery – a willingness to do things which are difficult, dangerous or painful without being afraid ความกล้าหาญ
territorial dispute – a disagreement over who owns a particular area of land or sea
ascend – to go up ขึ้นไป
deputy – a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง
supreme commander – someone in charge of the whole of the armed forces of a country ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด
paramilitary rangers – unofficial soldiers who are specially trained to make surprise attacks on an enemy and who support a country’s regular army  ทหารอาสา
coordinate – to organise the different parts of a job or plan so that the people involved work together effectively ประสานงานกัน

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager