Military seeks greater role

The Foreign Ministry needs more input from the military if it is to stake an effective claim in the Preah Vihear temple territory dispute, Supreme Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn says.

Gen Tanasak said the armed forces had sent Lt Gen Tarnchiyan Srisuwan, director of Joint Operations, to work with the Foreign Ministry, which is orchestrating Thailand's claim in the land dispute with Cambodia.

Phnom Penh has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to interpret its 1962 judgement which awarded the temple to Cambodia but stopped short of mentioning an area of 4.6 square kilometres surrounding the temple.

Oral hearings are scheduled to take place in April and a verdict is expected six months later.

Gen Tanasak said all agencies are doing their job to bring about a favourable result for Thailand. Those responsible for the issue meet every two or three weeks or at least once a month to present their analyses to the government.

He said he is regularly given input from a security perspective.

"I insist that we play by the book. If everyone unites, it will turn out fine. We all do and think for the nation's best interests," he said.

Asked how the military can assure that sovereignty will not be affected, he said all parties are working together to ensure the issue turns out in the country's favour.

Gen Tanasak said the military has taken an oath to protect national sovereignty and will strictly observe it.

He said Thai and Cambodian troops on the common border near the Preah Vihear temple are on good terms.

"There has been no incident over the past two years," he said. "We are good neighbours and understand each other well.

"We walk together and our nations will get mutual benefits. The Asean region will also reap the benefits."

About the author

columnist
Writer: Wassana Nanuam
Position: Reporter