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The Preah Vihear Temple Conflict Between Thailand and Cambodia

Updated on July 15, 2011

The Preah Vihear Temple Conflict

The Preah Vihear Temple is situated on the Thailand/Cambodia border. In Cambodia it is known as Khao Phra Viharn.

There has been a temple on this site since the early 9th Century. Originally a place of Hindu worship it moved over to Buddhism during the centuries.

The temple has been a source of conflict between Thailand and Cambodia for more than a hundred years. Maps drawn up by other authorities and court cases ruled in favour of Cambodia being the rightful owners in spit of the fact that access to the temple site was very difficult. This has since changed with roads being constructed on the Cambodian side.

It seemed that a peaceful solution was arrived at in 1963 when Cambodia took 'official' possession and agreed to freedom of access by Thai citizens and agreeing that they could retain ownership of any removed artifacts.

The 1970 - 90's saw Cambodia at war and civil war and the temple played an important role being one of the last places to fall to the Khmer Rouge.

Preah Vihear

Present problems

In 2008 the Temple was to be declared a World Heritage site with both Thailand and Cambodia agreeing. It did not go according to plan as Thailand backed out. Another redrawing of the border started an internal dispute amongst Thai political parties.

This current disagreement has led to a continuing heavy presence of troops from both sides of the border. Shooting, rockets, deaths and woundings are becoming all to frequent as is the war of words between the two countries,

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