Arguments raised by Cambodia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hearings on the Preah Vihear temple dispute are groundless and have no basis in fact, a Foreign Ministry official says.
Krairavee Sirikul, head of the Foreign Ministry's Legal and Treaties Affairs Department, said Cambodia was trying to discredit Thailand by saying Thailand laid barbed wire around the temple 51 years ago to demarcate the border.
It also accused Thailand of claiming that Cambodia did not object at the time to the laying of the fence.
Thailand will give its oral statement to the court today at 3-6pm and at 8-9.30pm (Bangkok time).
From left, listening grimly to Monday's oral arguments by the Cambodian delegation: Ambassador Virachai Plasai, head of the Thai team; Voradet Viravakin, legal and treaties expert of the Foreign Ministry, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul. (EPA Photo)
Thailand is ready to show evidence disproving all Cambodian allegations. Cambodia told the court that Thailand unilaterally erected the barbed wire fence and it was not in line with the court's ruling.
A source at the Foreign Ministry said Thailand will show the ICJ that when the then Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia visited Preah Vihear temple after Thailand laid the barbed wire fence, nobody opposed it.
The British, French and American ambassadors to Cambodia also attended the ceremony.
Panitan Wattanayagorn, an international relations lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said the arguments by Cambodia's team led by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong were well structured even though there was nothing new in them.
"Cambodia has made its point as to why it needs to bring the case back to the court after five decades. They claim they can't proceed with development plans [for Preah Vihear] because of us, our use of military forces.
"It is pressuring the ICJ to rule. This shows Cambodia is artful in international politics," he said.
Mr Panitan said the laws are in Thailand's favour. The ICJ has made clear it will not rule on the territorial dispute. "The Thai team has to be well prepared."
Mr Panitan said Cambodia pulled no punches when accusing Thailand of attacking Cambodia during Abhisit Vejjajiva's term as prime minister. "If the government is bold enough to produce evidence, such as military wiretapping to show that Cambodia initiated the attack, it will rebut Cambodia's accusations," he said.
Thitinan Pongsudhirak, another international relations expert at Chulalongkorn University, urged the government to look beyond the hearings.
He said bilateral relations must be fostered after the ruling whether or not it is in Thailand's favour.
He said Thailand will maintain an advantage no matter how the ruling comes out. Cambodia will need Thailand's cooperation in developing Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site.
Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut urged the government to rebut Cambodia's allegations.
"We must not let these accusations go unanswered," he said.
Cambodia is not seeking a mere interpretation of the 1962 judgement as it claimed, but "expansion", Mr Chavanond said. "We must insist the case ended 51 years ago and there is no dispute requiring an interpretation judgement."
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Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol, Mongkol Bangprapa & Pradit Ruangdit