July 21, 2008

Cambodia seeks U.N. help in Thai temple row

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Cambodia has asked the United Nations Security Council for an emergency meeting to resolve a military stand-off with Thailand over an ancient temple on their border.

Phnom Penh's appeal to the world body came after bilateral talks on Monday failed to end the week-long border

"In order to avoid armed confrontation, the Royal Government of Cambodia has decided to request an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to find a solution to the problem in accordance with international laws," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The foreign ministers of Thailand and Cambodia were due to meet on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Singapore later on Tuesday, Thai and Cambodian sources said.

The meeting will be chaired by Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo and is in response to a letter sent to him by Cambodia's government late on Monday, asking the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to intervene to cool escalating tensions between the neighbors.

The issue will also be discussed with all of ASEAN's foreign ministers at their lunch break, ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told reporters.

"We will have to deal with the issue of the two neighbors, but we cannot control the situation," said Surin, himself a Thai national.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said neither Cambodia nor Thailand was opposed to ASEAN's mediation efforts.

"The two of them are very willing to submit to the (ASEAN) jurisdiction," he said.


At the heart of the dispute is a 4.6 sq km (1.8 sq mile) area around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, which sits on a jungle-clad escarpment that forms a natural boundary and is claimed by both nations.

The 900-year-old temple was awarded to Cambodia by an international court in 1962.

The military showdown began a week ago when Thai troops moved into the disputed area after three Thai protesters were briefly detained there. Since then, both sides have sent hundreds more soldiers and heavy artillery to the border.

Cambodia has asked ASEAN to form an Inter-Ministerial Group of foreign ministers from Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos to "find a peaceful solution to the current crisis and to avoid a military confrontation between two ASEAN members".

ASEAN foreign ministers are holding their annual series of meetings first amongst themselves, then with Asia-Pacific powers culminating in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which has ambitions to deal with issues such a the Thai-Cambodia spat.

Monday's talks on the Thai-Cambodia border partly bogged down over which maps should be used to settle ownership of the temple and surrounding area, officials said.

The dispute is testing ASEAN's unity while it is in the midst of ratifying a charter that would turn the 41-year-old grouping into an EU-style, rules-based organization.

"The border engagement is not only relevant in terms of the problem that we see between the two states, but also it could be a test to ASEAN," said Rais, the Malaysian foreign minister.

"For the first time now, two of its members are facing what we call 'a border predicament'"

July 20, 2008

Thailand, Cambodia begin peace talks

Cambodian Buddhist monks stand in front of the entrance gate of Preah Vihear temple in Preah Vihear province, Cambodia, Sunday, July 20, 2008. A Cambodian general said Sunday that he has little hope that upcoming talks between his government and Thailand will resolve a tense border dispute that has seen hundreds of troops face off around an ancient temple.

The Associated Press Monday, July 21, 2008; 12:11 AM

Cambodian and Thai military leaders began talks Monday aimed at resolving a lingering dispute over territory near a World Heritage Site temple, where more than 4,000 troops from the two sides have been deployed.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed confidence that the meeting in this border town would produce "interim measures" to defuse tensions.

"I have full confidence that our joint efforts will result in a mutually satisfactory solution to (the) current problem," Hun Sen said in a letter to Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. The letter, dated Saturday, was seen Monday by The Associated Press.

Thailand's Supreme Commander Boonsrang Niempradit and Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh are attending the bilateral talks.

In Singapore, the two countries pledged a peaceful resolution to the standoff as 10 foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations gathered for their annual security meeting.

"We urged both sides to exercise utmost restraint and resolve this issue amicably," Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo told reporters late Sunday. "Both sides affirmed that they would ... exert their utmost efforts to find a peaceful solution to the issue."

The conflict over territory surrounding the ancient Preah Vihear Hindu temple escalated earlier this month when UNESCO approved Cambodia's application to have the complex named a World Heritage Site. Thai activists say the new status undermines Thailand's claim to 1.8 square miles around the temple.

Cambodia informs UN Security Council on alleged Thai incursion

Cambodia has informed the UN Security Council that Thai forces have violated its territory near an ancient World Heritage Site temple where hundreds of troops continued to face off Sunday.

Cambodia's permanent mission in New York submitted a letter to the chairman of the Security Council and the chairman of the General Assembly to "draw their attention to the current situation on the Cambodian-Thai border," Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said.

"Cambodia is not asking for UN intervention. We still stick to Prime Minister Hun Sen's instructions to try to solve the problem peacefully between the two sides," the minister told reporters in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. It was unclear when the letter was submitted. The conflict over territory surrounding Preah Vihear temple escalated when UNESCO recently approved Cambodia's application to have the complex named a World Heritage Site. Thai activists fear the new status will undermine Thailand's claim to nearby land since the border has never been demarcated.

Troops from the opposing forces were on the brink of a shoot-out Thursday night, which was avoided when Cambodians retreated from a site occupied by the Thais. Opposing commanders and their troops have tried to defuse tensions, sometimes even sharing meals, snapping photographs and sleeping within easy sight of one another.

A Cambodian general, meanwhile, said he had little hope that upcoming talks between his government and Thailand will resolve the tense border dispute. Cambodian Brig. Gen. Chea Keo said Thai troops have deployed an artillery piece about half a mile (one kilometer) northeast of Preah Vihear temple - the latest escalation ahead of Monday's meeting aimed at averting a military confrontation. "Regarding the talks tomorrow, we have little hope about the outcome," Chea Keo said. He said the reason for his pessimism stems from a recent counterclaim by Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej that the area around a Buddhist pagoda near the historic temple belongs to Thailand. Thai troops have been stationed at the pagoda since Tuesday.

Hun Sen wrote a letter to Samak on Thursday saying relations had been "worsening" since Thai troops "encroached on our territory," and asked him to pull them back. Responding to his Cambodian counterpart, Samak said the area around the pagoda referred to in the letter "is within the Thai territory," according to a statement Saturday from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

21 July 2008, Monday

Thai-Cambodia conflict may haunt ASEAN meeting

The Jakarta Post, Singapore

For several years, it has been the Myanmar issue that has overshadowed ASEAN meetings, including the leaders' summit here last November. But this time, it will be different.

The Myanmar ruling junta will probably even receive a warmer reception because of its readiness to bow to pressure by ASEAN to open its door to international humanitarian workers to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

When the ASEAN foreign ministers started their five-day annual meeting on Sunday evening, the rising tension between Thailand and Cambodia may have distracted the ministers' attention from their main agenda items, such as the process for setting up the ASEAN Human Rights Body and talks with VIP guests, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has skipped the past few annual meetings.

"This issue (the Thai-Cambodia dispute) has been a major attention-grabber over the past two days. The ministers will want an update on what has been going on.
"The indications are that this is an issue they (the two countries) want to solve bilaterally," said the ASEAN meeting spokesman Andrew Tan.

But the ministers of the 10-member regional group are not likely to get a first-hand briefing from the conflicting parties, because Thailand does not currently have a foreign minister and instead sent its deputy prime minister Sahas Bunditkul.
And according to the official schedule as at Sunday evening, Cambodia has no plans to send its foreign minister, Hor Namhong.

The Foreign Ministry's director general for ASEAN affairs, Dian Triansyah Djani, indicated the foreign ministers would discuss the Thai-Cambodia border dispute. But he also pointed out the problem was not likely to affect the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, who is also a former Thai foreign minister, called on both countries to exercise "restraint".

"The ministers may wish to address the issue ... trying to encourage early resolution and maximum restraint in order to avoid any repercussions on the image of the organization," Surin said Saturday.

But the ASEAN foreign ministers will also hear good news that will help to boost its international stature: North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun is scheduled to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC). Pyongyang will add to the list of signatory countries, which includes China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, Russia, Pakistan and France. It is also expected the Six-Party Talks will take place here.

On Monday, after concluding their annual meeting, the ASEAN chief diplomats will meet with the High Level Legal Expert Group on the ASEAN Charter. The following day, they will receive the foreign ministers of China, South Korea and Japan. Japan's Masahiko Koumura and South Korea's Yu Myung Hwan are also scheduled to hold bilateral talks to discuss their dispute over a group of islets in the Sea of Japan.

On Wednesday, ASEAN will host bilateral meetings with its dialogue partners, including the European Union and Australia. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be the star of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Her absence from several meetings has annoyed the group's foreign ministers, but as a consolation, the White House recently appointed Scot Marciel as the U.S. ambassador to ASEAN. --Tony Hotland and Kornelius Purba

Thai-Cambodia border meeting starts

BANGKOK, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A special meeting of Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC) to defuse conflicts over disputed border area of Preah Vihear Temple started in Thailand's Sa Kaew Province on Monday.

Thai side is represented by Supreme Commander Gen. Boonsang Niempradit while the Cambodian side by Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh.

Earlier, Weewalit Jornsamrit, Second Army Area Deputy Commander of Thailand, said that both sides agreed to suspend military movements that may cause further tension, but the military officials would remain stationed at strategic points pending the result of the GBC meeting.

On Monday, Boonsang declined to give comments to reporters prior to his departure for the talks.

Despite commitment to a peaceful resolution of the standoff, Thailand now has some 1,500 military personnel and border patrol police officers, reinforcing security on roads in Soi Dao and PongNam Ron districts, bordering Cambodia, the state-run Thai News Agency reported.

Police checkpoints were also set up to conduct search on vehicles passing through the area, while more troops were in placeat border passes around the clock.

Boonsang was assigned by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to lead the Thai delegation to Monday's GBC meeting.

Boonsang said earlier he could not say whether the Thai troops stationed near Preah Vihear will be withdrawn as requested by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen last week in a diplomatic note sent to his Thai counterpart.

"It is better to wait for the outcome of the meeting first," Boonsang said, noting that "the Thai military will not employ violence to solve this problem."

Instead, the military would use peaceful means in solving the border crisis, he said.

The military standoff between Cambodia and Thailand entered into its

Thai-Cambodia border meeting starts

BANGKOK, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A special meeting of Thai-Cambodia General Border Committee (GBC) to defuse conflicts over disputed border area of Preah Vihear Temple started in Thailand's Sa Kaew Province on Monday.

Thai side is represented by Supreme Commander Gen. Boonsang Niempradit while the Cambodian side by Defense Minister Gen. Tea Banh.

Earlier, Weewalit Jornsamrit, Second Army Area Deputy Commander of Thailand, said that both sides agreed to suspend military movements that may cause further tension, but the military officials would remain stationed at strategic points pending the result of the GBC meeting.

On Monday, Boonsang declined to give comments to reporters prior to his departure for the talks.

Despite commitment to a peaceful resolution of the standoff, Thailand now has some 1,500 military personnel and border patrol police officers, reinforcing security on roads in Soi Dao and PongNam Ron districts, bordering Cambodia, the state-run Thai News Agency reported.

Police checkpoints were also set up to conduct search on vehicles passing through the area, while more troops were in placeat border passes around the clock.

Boonsang was assigned by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to lead the Thai delegation to Monday's GBC meeting.

Boonsang said earlier he could not say whether the Thai troops stationed near Preah Vihear will be withdrawn as requested by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen last week in a diplomatic note sent to his Thai counterpart.

"It is better to wait for the outcome of the meeting first," Boonsang said, noting that "the Thai military will not employ violence to solve this problem."

Instead, the military would use peaceful means in solving the border crisis, he said.

The military standoff between Cambodia and Thailand entered into its seventh day on Monday. Both countries historically laid claim to the 11th century temple, which now sits on Cambodian soil following the action of the International Court of Justice which awarded the ancient temple to Cambodia in 1962.

However, the temple can practicably only be accessed from Thailand. The exact demarcation of the border around the ruins remains in contention.

The security situation around the temple deteriorated after three Thais, including a Buddhist monk, were briefly detained by Cambodian soldiers after surreptitiously crossing into the disputed border area on Tuesday. The trio were released the same day but refused to leave the 4.6 square kilometers disputed area adjoining the temple complex.

Thailand first issued a warning that travel to the vicinity of the temple be avoided, but later closed off access altogether within 10 km of the temple.

Seventh day on Monday. Both countries historically laid claim to the 11th century temple, which now sits on Cambodian soil following the action of the International Court of Justice which awarded the ancient temple to Cambodia in 1962.

However, the temple can practicably only be accessed from Thailand. The exact demarcation of the border around the ruins remains in contention.

The security situation around the temple deteriorated after three Thais, including a Buddhist monk, were briefly detained by Cambodian soldiers after surreptitiously crossing into the disputed border area on Tuesday. The trio were released the same day but refused to leave the 4.6 square kilometers disputed area adjoining the temple complex.

Thailand first issued a warning that travel to the vicinity of the temple be avoided, but later closed off access altogether within 10 km of the temple.

2008-07-21 12:25:44 Amber Yao

July 17, 2008

Cambodian-Thai temple military standoff enters third day

PREAH VIHEAR, Cambodia: Cambodian and Thai soldiers held their positions on the border near an ancient temple Thursday as a standoff over a territorial dispute entered its third day.

More than 400 Thai troops and more than 800 Cambodian soldiers stood stationed around a small Buddhist pagoda on the slope of a mountain leading to the ruins of the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

Brigadier Chea Keo, commander-in-chief of the army at Preah Vihear, warned reporters that the situation could worsen if the Thais continued to swell their ranks.

"If the Thais keep adding more troops the situation will escalate, but we try to be patient," Chea Keo said. "They want us to do something first but we try to remain calm," he added.

Groups of Cambodian soldiers based at the foot of the mountain were redeployed to the temple at the top, armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket launchers.

Thai soldiers were all stationed inside the pagoda compound, around the wooden structure that has a corrugated metal roof.

The brigadier acknowledged that the Thai army had superior weapons but said that the Cambodians were in a better position at the top of the mountain.

Cambodian officials claim soldiers began crossing the border on Tuesday after three Thai protesters were arrested for jumping an immigration checkpoint to reach the temple.

Thailand denies the trespass and insists the soldiers were patrolling its side of the border but Cambodian troops on the scene say the Thai soldiers have crossed more than 100 metres outside their territory.

An area of 4.6 square kilometres on the border remains in dispute between the two countries after the World Court in 1962 determined the Preah Vihear ruins belong to Cambodia, but its most accessible entrance lies in Thailand.

A Thai soldier was injured by a landmine in the area on Tuesday but the Thai military says the landmine was planted on Thai soil, possibly a remnant from the decades of war that once plagued the border.

Some 70 per cent of Cambodians who live in the area have left their homes during the confrontation, said Brigadier Chea Keo.

The incident comes amid heightened political tensions in both countries after the UN cultural agency UNESCO awarded the temple World Heritage status earlier this month.

Cambodia is preparing for general elections on July 27, when Prime Minister Hun Sen is expected to extend his decades-long grip on power.

He has portrayed the UN recognition of the ruins as a national triumph, organising huge public celebrations.

In Thailand, critics of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej - already the target of street protests - have stoked the temple controversy to fire up nationalist sentiment.

Samak's government had originally signed a deal supporting Cambodia's bid to make the ruins a World Heritage site, but a court overturned the pact, forcing the resignation of foreign minister Noppadon Pattama.

The parliamentary opposition is now mulling impeachment motions against the entire cabinet. -


Authorities block access to Preah Vihear zone

Military sources said about 250 Thai troops have been deployed near the Cambodian border following the arrest by Cambodia of three Thai citizens who crossed into the disputed border area early Tuesday.

The trio were returned to Thailand later on Tuesday, but Thais are being warned not to travel to the vicinity of Preah Vihear.

Meanwhile, military sources said, Cambodian troops have been reinforced nearby the area of overlapping claims.

The troop movements by both countries heightened tension at the border, and the Thai authorities have restricted vehicles and media from a 10km radius of the ancient temple.

Lt-Gen Suchit Sitthiprapha, Thailand's Second Army Region commander said Wednesday that the protesters were being interviewed by the Suranaree Task Force and are "not being detained".

The trio, including a Buddhist monk, were detained briefly by Cambodian authorities on Tuesday after they had sneaked into the disputed area adjacent to the 11th century temple.

It was the first cross-border protest since Cambodia blocked access to Preah Vihear temple to visitors from Thailand last month, after some Thai protesters attempted to march on the temple ruins.

Gen Suchit said the area adjacent to the temple was still disputed between the two countries, which means there are differing ideas as to where the border is.

Assuring the public that there are sufficient Thai military personnel patrolling the Thai-Cambodian border.

The Preah Vihear site was awarded a World Heritage Site status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on July 7. (TNA)

Air Force set to evacuate Thais in Cambodia if tensions rise

Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Chalit Phukbhasuk said Thursday Royal Thai Air Force aircraft are on standby, prepared to fly out Thai nationals living in Cambodia if tensions flare over the disputed Thai-Cambodian border at the ancient Preah Vihear temple.

Meanwhile, over a hundred carloads of People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) activists attempting to demonstrate at the controversial temple early Thursday were prevented by police and military personnel from traveling to the site, being stopped outside the perimetre established some 10 kilometres from the site.

"If the situation worsens, the Air Force can assist on a 24-hour basis and can lift out Thai nationals to repatriate them within one hour. Officials are now well prepared for the operation," ACM Chalit said.

He said concerned Thai security officials -- including Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej who also serves as defence minister, military commanders, the supreme commander and the permanent secretary for defence -- have conducted an ongoing discussion on ways to defuse the tensions.

Referring to a plan by members and supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), an anti-government group, to protest at Preah Vihear on Thursday, ACM Chalit said that the people have the right to express their opinions but they "must be based on the truth" and that protesters must strictly follow orders issued by officials.

He said the PAD members and supporters, however, should refrain from intruding into the disputed area because it is dangerous.

ACM Chalit's remarks were made following reports that both Thailand and Cambodia had reinforced their troops at and near the competing claims to the approaches to the historic Preah Vihear temple, listed by UNESCO earlier this month as a World Heritage Site.

Both countries historically laid claim to the 11th century temple, which now sits on Cambodian soil following the action of the International Court of Justice which awarded the ancient temple to Cambodia in 1962. However, the temple can practicably only be accessed from Thailand.

However, the exact demarcation of the border around the ruins remains in contention.

The security situation around the temple deteriorated after three Thais, including a Buddhist monk, were briefly detained by Cambodian soldiers after surrepticiously crossing into the disputed border area on Tuesday. The trio were released the same day but refused to leave the 4.6 square kilometre disputed area adjoining the temple complex.

Thailand first issued a warning that travel to the vicinity of the temple be avoided, but later closed off access altogether within 10 kilometres of the temple.

Meanwhile, Si Sa Ket's provincial governor closed a nearby park on Wednesday, citing security concerns.

The park is expected to be reopened when tensions ease. (TNA)


A soldier rests near Preah Vihear temple earlier this month.

Vendors and residents near Preah Vihear temple were fleeing the area Thursday as a standoff between Cambodian and Thai soldiers entered its third day, witnesses said, adding that more troops from both sides have been deployed to the disputed border area.

"People are leaving the area because they are scared," said Keo Vannak, a resident of Sa Em town near the base of the mountain on which the 11th-century ruins sit.

Sa Em has seen an influx of people coming off the mountain on trucks piled with their belongings, Keo Vannak said Thursday.

"I'm worried there will be a clash and it will destroy all of my belongings," said vendor Chim Nang. "I'm moving my stuff to another village for safety," he added, standing near a truck packed with household goods.

“Now I move my material to another village for safety because I’m worried there will be a clash and it will destroy all my belongings.” He had his most important household items packed with him in the truck.

Added Srey Leap, who works at Preah Vihear temple: "I will return to my hometown in Siem Reap province ... I cannot work here until there is security and this dispute is over.”

More than 600 heavily armed Cambodian soldiers have been deployed to the temple since Tuesday, when Thai troops first allegedly crossed the border following the arrest of three Thai demonstrators who jumped an international checkpoint to enter the temple.

Cambodia claims that at least 400 Thai soldiers continue to occupy Cambodian territory, while Bangkok insists that they are stationed on the Thai side of the border to conduct demining operations.

An area of 4.8 square kilometers around the temple remains in dispute after the World Court ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia. The temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site on July 7 after years of resistance from Bangkok to the inscription, further inflaming Thai nationalism.

On July 10, Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama stepped down after the Constitutional Court ruled that he had acted illegally in signing an agreement supporting Cambodia’s bid to have Preah Vihear temple listed as a World Heritage Site without the permission of parliament.

Cambodian officials on Wednesday called for calm as tensions along the border escalated with the Thais's refusal to withdraw, but military officers on the ground say that more troops could be deployed to counter Thai reinforcements.

“We sent more soldiers to the temple yesterday to stop the Thai troops from moving even further into the temple complex," said Kem Oun, deputy commander of RCAF Brigade 43, which was brought in as the crisis grew.

"Now, they are on our land, in our pagoda and violating our sovereignty, even after the threats of Cambodian soldiers," he told the Post on Thursday. "But our orders are to be patient and avoid fighting unless they start it first," he said, adding that Thai military officers had asked the Cambodians to meet with them later Thursday.

Thai soldiers have gathered at a Buddhist pagoda built on a slope about 200 meters from the temple, and slept Wednesday night next to Cambodian troopers, said Him Chan, deputy commander of the border police battalion 795.

“They are occupying our land and last night they slept just a few meters away from us to show their aggression and provoke trouble," he said. "We’ve tried to push them away but they won't leave.... This is Cambodian land."

Cambodian officials have agreed to hold crisis talks with their Thai counterparts on Monday in a bid to defuse the standoff, but soldiers on the mountain say they remain at the ready if the situation worsens.

"I haven't used it in 10 years and it's gotten a bit rusty," said Srun Mao, soldier with Brigade 795, tapping his AK-47 rifle. "But I'm ready and I'm thirsty," the former Khmer Rouge fighter added.

July 15, 2008

10,000 Cambodians Rally to Celebrate Ancient Temple's World Heritage Status

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia - Cambodians celebrated the U.N.'s listing of an 11th-century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark with a mass rally, fireworks and plenty of nationalist songs Monday.A crowd estimated by authorities at 10,000 — some wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with the image of Preah Vihear temple — gathered to cheer the recognition by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee a week ago.The listing angered political leaders in neighboring Thailand, and sparked small protests by some Thais who feared it would jeopardize their country's claims to disputed land adjacent to the site.

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, who headed his government's lobbying efforts for the temple's status, recounted what he called repeated attempts by Thailand to prevent Cambodia from unilaterally pursuing its goal.He dismissed as unacceptable Thailand's demand for a joint application with Cambodia because that would mean Phnom Penh would have to share ownership of the site."Our cause is just and fair. Our achievement is of great significance given the tough struggle we have managed to overcome," Sok An said to loud applause. "It also further reaffirms that Preah Vihear temple is Cambodia's."

In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple and the land it occupies to Cambodia, a decision that still rankles many Thais even though the temple is culturally Cambodian, sharing the Hindu-influenced style of the more famous Angkor complex in northwestern Cambodia.Some Thais have been protesting the UNESCO listing near the border and demanding the eviction of Cambodians living on land near the temple. In response, Cambodia has sealed off access from Thailand to the temple, forcing many Cambodian vendors who survive on income from tourists to close their shops, said Hang Soth, director-general of the national authority for Preah Vihear temple.He said some villagers were surviving on food aid sent by the Cambodian Red Cross.Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has accused Thai opposition politicians of exploiting the cross-border dispute to advance their own domestic political agenda and warned they might endanger bilateral relations.

- APPhotos: (REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea - CAMBODIA, AP Photo/Heng Sinith, )

Military bungles over Preah Vihear

Diplomacy and ancient cultural sites are not the business of the Army; the southern insurgency is Published on January 26, 2008.

The military's strong but belated reaction to Cambodia's nomination of the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear as a United Nations World Heritage site raised eyebrows in Bangkok as well as in Phnom Penh. It may be true that the Cambodian authorities last year unilaterally proposed to get the mountaintop temple on the Unesco list of historical and cultural sites of global significance, but the Thai Foreign Ministry has already protested the move and now both countries have been discussing the proposal to jointly list Preah Vihear. The ancient temple is located on Cambodian territory along with secondary ruins on the Thai side.

Cambodia and Thailand have for several years been cooperating on the restoration of the ancient temples - which are easily accessible from the Thai side of the border - as part of a joint tourism development. The timing of the protest by the Defence Ministry, at a time when Thailand is about to revert to democracy after some 16 months of military rule, raises the serious question as to whether there is an ulterior motive behind this uncalled-for protest.

On Thursday, the Defence Ministry accused the Cambodian government of trying to create "false historical evidence" with the intention of laying claim to the area adjacent to Preah Vihear, particularly the access road, which is located inside Thai territory. The Defence Ministry also asked the Foreign Ministry to lodge a formal protest with Phnom Penh. According to the Defence Ministry, Cambodia has unilaterally created a new boundary in order to claim sovereignty over the entire area, including the access road on the Thai side, and is campaigning for international support for this. The Defence Ministry spokesman went as far as saying that the incoming government should take the issue seriously, as Phnom Penh could once again incite anti-Thai sentiments among Cambodians living along the border - and that this could threaten Thailand's national security. He said the Army was on alert to protect Thailand's sovereignty.

Such dramatic posturing by the military comes across as ludicrous and bordering on hysterical. There have been no signs of any possibility of armed confrontation between the two countries over Preah Vihear. The dispute over the site was supposed to have been settled more than four decades ago.

Sure enough, Thai military leaders yesterday backtracked, dismissing what the Defence Ministry's spokesman, Lt-General Pichsanu Puchakarn, said at a press conference was an inaccurate representation of the situation.

Preah Vihear is still something of a sensitive issue in the relations between Thailand and Cambodia. It became a hot issue again early last year when Thailand blocked Phnom Penh's attempt to list it as a World Heritage site on the grounds that Cambodia's annex document claimed some parts in an "overlapping area" claimed by both countries. In 1962, following bitter legal wrangling between the two countries, the International Court of Justice ruled in favour of Phnom Penh, which was given sovereignty over the temple compound. But the access route to the site is mainly on the Thai side of the border. Negotiations on the overlapping area are ongoing. In clarifying the Defence Ministry's clumsy statements, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said yesterday that Thailand and Cambodia had agreed since 2000 to have a joint boundary committee and would not make any alteration to the environment or physical structures in the area before the demarcation is completed.

In the meantime, the spokesman said both countries continued to discuss how best to get Preah Vihear listed as a World Heritage Site for joint tourism development and mutual benefit.

The two countries said there was no dispute, and Thailand agreed to provide technical assistance to train Cambodian workers to restore the temple prior to the proposal to list the site.

If this serves as a lesson to the military, it is this: the armed forces should learn to mind their own business and not over-extend themselves by venturing into unfamiliar territory - like diplomacy - that they know little about. Everybody knows by now that the Thai armed forces have been fighting a losing war against Islamic militants/Malay separatists in the deep South and their prestige is taking a beating. The priority for the military is to disengage itself from politics and put its own house in order.

The Nation

Preah Vihear: The border was already settled by The Hague International Court of Justice

Near the end of June 2007, following Thailand’s reservations, UNESCO decided to “suspend” Cambodia’s request for the protection of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site, and the UN body asked the two countries “to quickly resolve the issue of border demarcation at this location.”

In Bangkok, according to the news published on June 29, 2007, Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement: “In principle, Thailand totally agrees that the Preah Vihear Temple should be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, under the reservation that the differences on the site’s joint management and the problems of border demarcation are resolved first.” Immediately after this statement, Thailand sent its “black-clad uniformed” troops to prevent the access to the temple from the Thai side, and to close the border. These actions effectively created unease and excitation on Cambodia’s side.

The action taken by the Thai troops is nothing new when it comes to the Cambodian Preah Vihear Temple. Two years ago, in May 2005, “black-clad” Thai soldiers undertook the same action towards the temple. At the time, Thammarak Isarangura, the Thai Minister of Defense, declared that “Thai troops would remain (there) to assure that there will not be any crossings into the territories in conflict, until the two countries complete their demarcation work.” In Phnom Penh, Thailand’s ambassador to Cambodia declared that Thailand intends to respect the decision of The Hague International Court of Justice which gave the ownership of the Preah Vihear Temple to Cambodia in 1962. “However, the decision concerned the temple only and it did not precise the border delineation … That’s why this problem persists until nowadays.” On July 06, 2007, Viraphand Vacharathit, Thailand’s ambassador in Phnom Penh, implicitly placed the blame on Hun Sen’s government when he declared to the news media that “Cambodia knew very well that UNESCO would suspend this decision on Preah Vihear … because of the absence of the border demarcation line…”

In 2005, Hun Sen’s government promised to “resolve this problem of border delineation as soon as possible.” Now, Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and spokesman of the government, vaguely said that “some small technical problems still remain to be resolved, regarding the new housing constructions, radio [broadcast] towers, irrigation canals, etc…” On the other hand, Va Kim Hong, the government minister in charge of border issues who is even more confused that his ministry of information colleague, let it be known that there would not be “any problem left for anyone, (because) the local authorities, the Preah Vihear provincial authorities, and our local people just have to present to us their problems, and we will resolve them together.”

The issue questioned by UNESCO involves the resolution of the so-called “white zone” located in front of Preah Vihear, a zone which Hun Sen’s government admitted its existence in the past few years to the great satisfaction of Thailand, this in spite of the historical stipulations of treaties recognized by both countries since 1907, and in spite of the irrevocable decision rendered by The Hague International Court of Justice in 1962 regarding this temple. In fact The Hague Court’s decision dated June 15, 1962, clearly indicated the prior existence of a border delineation between Thailand and Cambodia at this location, BEFORE the court issued its decision to hand the ownership of the temple to Cambodia (please read the court decision attached). There was no “white zone” and there is nothing to “negotiate” again on the border demarcation in front of the Preah Vihear temple. All that remain are the reference to the maps retained by The Hague International Court of Justice, and the building of the corresponding border demarcation posts. Such operation would be completed within a few weeks.

However, we recall that the existence of these “white zones” was adopted by Hun Sen and his party, the PRPK-CPP (PRPK is the acronym for the People's Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea which was later rechristened to the Cambodian People Party or CPP), following their conclusions on illegal treaties and agreements with Hanoi in the 80s on Cambodia’s new borders. These illegal treaties and agreements, which are perfidiously put into application, have de facto rejected or made obsolete all or part of other international treaties of Cambodia with respect to her territorial integrity. For example, the agreement of the cession by the PRPK-CPP to Hanoi of the islands of Koh Tral and Koh Krachak Seh, and of the so-called “Historical Waters” (a maritime “white zone”) between Vietnam and the People’s Republic of Kampuchea in July 1982, changed the delimitation of the maritime border between Cambodia and Vietnam, and subsequently, the one between Cambodia and Thailand, and it created “white zones” at sea between the two latter countries also. Obviously, these “white zones” later became conflict zones, zones where the law of jungle and instability prevail, and where the first victims are the defenseless and unprotected Cambodian population, this in spite of the confused and irresponsible assurances given by Hun Sen’s government (1).

The note by UNESCO on the imprecision of the border in front of the Preah Vihear Temple – an imprecision based on Thailand’s reservations which completely ignores the decision handed by the International Court of Justice on June 15, 1962 – is a dangerous precedent on the historical rights of Cambodia’s territorial integrity: it is the UNESCO, a UN institution, which accepts, at this location, the existence of a so-called “white zone” between the two countries. What will become of the other “white zones” which were recognized by the Hun Sen’s regime and by his party with Cambodia’s neighbors? By following this path, the entire Cambodia will soon become a “white zone” for Thailand and Vietnam – if it is not one now already – just as it was 200 years ago.

(1) During the 1954 Geneva conference, a 1:100,000-scale map produced and kept in France (latest edition­) was submitted to the International Control Commission (which was later presided by India under the leadership of Mr. K.L. Bindra), as well as a smaller scale map for ease of use under the circumstance.

On the other hand, between 1968 and 1971, France provided help to Cambodia to establish a 1:200,000-scale geologic map with the participation of 8 French geologists and engineers, as well as 20 other Khmer engineers who performed the works and the research under the direction Mr. Sean Pengse.

At the time, there was no “white zone”.
Paris, July 9, 2007
Vice-President, Cambodia's Border Committee
DY Kareth

Cambodia Ministry

Find out where and the contact info of Cambodia Ministry, department, and authority in Cambodia. We are looking forward to list all Cambodia ministries, departments, and authorities in the near future.

1-Ministry of Tourism
2-Ministry of Economy and Finance
3-Ministry of Commerce

Visiting a Krama manufacturing village at Koh Dach

Cambodian farmers make traditional Krama all throughout the kingdom but for day tripping, it may convenient to visit several interesting places such as Pea-ream and Thnoat communes in Bati district, and Tang Yab and Say-va commune in the Samrong district of Takeo province. Or go to Prek Chang-kran commune, Sithor Kandal district of Prey Veng province, but the closest Krama makers are on Koh Dach village-island.

Koh Dach village, well know as a ‘weaving handicraft village,’ is on one of the largest islands located on the Upper Mekong, with a length of 12 kilometres. The island is located in Koh Dach commune, Mukh Kampool district. Koh Dach is about 10 kilometres from Phnom Penh.
The Koh Dach villagers have retained their traditional lifestyle based around their main handicraft, traditional silk weaving, Pha-muong, Hol, Krama and cotton clothes. Visitors walking the villager trail around the island will hear the sound of looms emerging from every house. Some houses have 5-10 looms and all the family members are weavers. From eight to eighty years of age, all the family play a role in production. As a result, much of the silk, Pha-muong, Hol and Kramar products for sale in the Phnom Penh markets originated in the Koh Dach villages, all of it hand made and of fine quality.
Beside the production of handicrafts, the residents of Koh Dach are also excellent gardeners, producing a wide variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits. The geography of Koh Dach Island varies. Though 12 kilometres long, some areas are only 100 meters wide and 2,500 meters wide elsewhere. The land is home to thousands of Khmer traditional houses and three ancient pagodas, each with a long history set in a traditional context. A visit to Koh Dach will give you a better understanding of Cambodian life than any other area surrounding the capital. You will take away lasting memories of the arts and lives of Cambodian people, happily co-existing with nature and traditional values.
Source: Words and photographs by Moeun Nhean

July 14, 2008

Cambodia’s Pristine Coastline

The Kingdom of Cambodia has about 450 kilometers long treasure, its spectacular natural coastline. From Koh Kong province in the west to Kampot province in the South-west, the coast is a mix of national parks, fine sandy beaches and picturesque coastal villages. In the seas off Cambodia's shores are dozens of unspoiled islands, each surrounded by crystal clear waters teeming with marine life and coral reefs.

For the tourist, it is a vast resource waiting to be explored. With those amazing nature resources, Kingdom of Cambodia invites visitors to enjoy and relax on one of the many beautiful beaches which line the Southern Cambodia coasts at Kep, Kampot, Sihanouk Ville, and the southwestern coast of Koh Kong province.
In Sihanoukville, there are the homeland of white sand beaches of O’Cheouteal, Independence, Victory beaches, and O’Tress etc. For those interested in peace and a clean natural environment, away from the masses. Such as O'Tress Beach is an ideal haven. The beach is a 10-minute motorbike or car trip south of the popular O'Chheuteal Beach.
'O’Tress’ is a hidden nature beauty, its clean beach and seas backed by tall trees. Offshore from the beach are the islands of Koh Tress, Koh Russey and Koh Ta Keav.
There’re a few restaurants run by locals and foreigners, are beginning to open to provide sustenance to visitors.
Today, Sihanouk Ville is the second largest city in the kingdom and is famous for the natural beauty of its beaches and islands. The town too is the location of the countries international sea-port, the trade gateway which links the country with the rest of the world.

Recently, the port is also an international checkpoint for foreigners arriving by sea. Tourism ships increasingly are using the port as a stop-over point. If you visit Cambodia’s coastal capital, you should not miss the seafood food available there. The fish are caught locally and renown for their good taste and deliciousness.

Off the southern coast are largely areas of colorful coral reef and abundant fish life. These waters off Sihanouk Ville and Koh Kong province are a treasure for divers and snorkelers. So to are the islands of Koh Ta Keav, Koh Rusey, Koh Rong and Koh Kong.
Kbal Chay Waterfalls
North along Hun Sen Drive, a few kilometers past the Caltex Oil Depot there is a turnoff, a rough dirt road leads inland for several kilometers again to the base of a set of spectacular waterfalls. Locals have only recently made this a popular picnic spot because of its remote location and former security problems during the 1990’s.
It remains unspoilt, although the road is acceptable and should only be attempted in a four-wheel drive or by experienced bike riders after rain. These powerful falls boast a series of deep pools and white water cascades. When attempting to walk up the falls, beware of the barbed hooks set up by fishermen in some of the cascades.
Words and photographs by Moeun Nhean

Cambodia Tours

Mekong Travel and Tourism-the Official website for tourism in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Angkor Wat Cambodia travel specialist

Indochina Guide

Khmer Krom People in Vietnam

The world in general is still ignorant about what is Kampuchea Krom. Today, the origin of Kampuchea Krom is being systematically effaced from the world history by the Vietnamese colonialist government and its supporters. Kampuchea Krom history, its geography, its people, its culture, and its people identity are now being questioned by even the scholars. According to the July 12-25, 1996 issue of Phnom Penh Post which cover the "Angkor Borei: The Cradle of Cambodia ? " It said: "Vietnamese scholars are quoted as saying : " The Funan (Nokor Phnom) empire existed before Khmer ethnicity arose.

Linguistic evidence that these people were indeed Khmer is simply lacking'. " Supporting this statement was an American scholar, Miriam Stark, who said: " There is no question that the people of Angkor empire were Khmer.

But as to Funan (Nokor Phnom), we don't know what language they spoke, though we can fin out how old the site is (Angkor Borei), What agriculture was engaged in, what the demographic potential of the site was.

We can learn bow they lived, and what they did. But whether they were Khmer is perhaps an unanswering question. " As a child of the Khmer Krom, the indigenous people of this land which known to us as Kampuchea Krom., when I learned from these above quotations, they hurt very, very deeply.

I would like therefore to demonstrate facts and evidences of the existences of my people, the Khmer Krom, to the world and our rightful ownership to this land, the ancient Nokor Phnom (Funan) or the current Kampuchea Krom. Kampuchea Krom is an un-official Khmer name for the Mekong delta region, comprised the entire southern part of Vietnam. Its territory measures up to 65,000 square kilometers. The indigenous people of Kampuchea Krom as Nokor Phnom (or Funan, in the corrupt Chinese translation).

As a commercial power, Nokor Phnom was well know for its deep-sea city of O Keo (historians also used the corrupt term, Oc-eo). It exact location is in the Kramoun Sar (Rach Gia) province. O Keo was a trading center in Southeast Asia where the Indian, the Arabs, the Roman, the Chines and Japanese met. Many Khmer and Mon-Khmer coins, including those of Rome have been foung at O Keo in the suurounding provinces. Economically, the Khmer of Nokor Phnom were geniuses in their own right as is shown by their mastery of water management. One can still find hundreds if not thousands of canals today in the Mekong delta of Kampuchea Krom.

They were built by the ancient Khmers of Nokor Phnom. In fact, Khmer Krom do not call their water streams as "Stung " as the Khmer in Cambodia called them. But they know only " Prek." for "Prek " means canal and " Stung " means natural streams. This demonstrated that the Khmer Krom have their water management schemes being built into their cultural psychology long ago. They were the masters of the wet rice culture. During the Nokor Phnom period, Chinese and Indian sources proved that " Buddhism in Kampuchea was old as Brahmanism, " said Peter Gyallay-Pap, in Radical Conservatism, 1990. Archaeologists discovered statutes of Buddha as well as Lokecsvara, Vishnu, shiva, Harihara, and many others scattered throughout Kampuchea Krom.

During the Khmer Empire, according to Malleret, in his La Minorite Cambodgien de Chochine, hospitals bult by the thirteen century Khmer King Jayavarman VII have been located near Prek Russey (today can Tho). Histo-rically Nokor Phnom was the Khmer Em-pire's 1st state, that is Kampuchea Krom today.

Kampuchea Krom was part of the present Cambodia until May 21, 1949, when the colonialist French ceded it illegally to Vietnam. Thus today, Cambodia continues to have its legal rights over this former terriory. The author of this article is also a Khmer Krom. Not long ago, we Khmer children enjoyed singing a song then "den dei Khmer pre tha Socannaphum " (Khmer nation means Sovannabhumi). It was a nationalistic song that touched our hearts very deeply.

Our song evoked in us a nostalgia for the glorious Khmer past. As children we had learned that, the time of Buddha, 500 BC., Sovannaphum was what today is called mainland Southeast Asia, and the Khmer Empire encompassed the main part of that. We had also learned that evidence has been discovered showing that the Khmer civilization can be found in Laos, in Thailand, and in Vietnam, where millions of ethnic Khmer civilization to today's regional geopolitical realities.

Westerners came to know the land of the first Khmer state Nokor Phnom was in a simonized term Funan. Later they knew it was the " Lower Cochin-China " which the Khmer Called it Kampuchea Krom (Lower Cambodia ). In 1861, during which time the Vietnamese invaded this Khmer land, French scholars Cortambert and de Rosny in their Le Kamboge Annanmite, wrote: " Lower Cochin-China, or Vietnam's Cambodia, which is the part of Cambodia which had submitted to the Annamit Empire, is the southern most part of this empire before the French conquest. It is today (1861) almost in our hands. It extends to the edge of " Cap de Kambodge (today Ca Mau) and swings to the northeast with the rest of the Kingdom of Cambodia. we can compare its extent with that of Britain. This country (Kampuchea Krom) is extremely fertile, formed entirely of the Mekong delta, and it is watered by the Dong Nai and the river of Prei Nokor (today Bo Chi Minh City). It is a great place for commerce.

It is the connection between Thailand, Cambodia, Englsh India, the Malaka Strait, and Burma on one side, and so the other side with Cochinchina proper (Annam), China, the Philippines, and others (author's translation from French). " Later, in 1940s, French archaeologists such as Louis Malleret devoted his research to the past history of Kampuchea Krom. According to Malleret, in the B.S.E.I., Vol.12, p.8, said: From the beginning of the first century to the thirteenth century, Kampuchea Krom was then part of the Khmer Empire. One map, Compiled with scientific proof in very recent years (1942) show about two hundred Khmer sites scattered around the delta. This map reveled the existence of the ancient canals, and the basins where today are the vast rive fields.

After the 6th century, Nokor Phnom joined its sister state of Chen Lea (the known corrupt term is also Chenla) to form two Chen Lea (s): Chen lea tuk (Chenla Water ) and Chen lea kauk (Chenla Dru or land). This union lasted for a brief period they were both being dominated by Java until 802 when a united Khmer Empire emerged. It was the work of a Khmer monarch Jayarman II (802-869). He was a Khmer prince who had been sent to Java to study. Upon his return, Jayavarman II brought home not only the Javancese polity which he freed the Khmers from Javanese conquerors. And the Khmer Empire was formed (9th to 13th century). Since then, Khmer Empire flourished not only economically but culturally as recognized today by the art and architecture of Angkor Wat which was built by the Khmer King, Suriyavarman II (1113-11150).

The Khmer Kings were not only followers of Hinduism (devaraja) but Mahayana Buddhism (Buddharaja), including Suriyavarman (1050) and Jayavarman VII (d.1218?). By13th century, the Khmer Empire began to crumble when faced with the newcomers from the north. First were the Thai. John Cady, in his Thailand, Burma, Laos, & Cambodia, 1966, said: "His reign ( SuriyavarmanII ) witness the beginning s of the infiltration of Thai-Laos people by inclusion of Thai mercenary troops in the Cambodian army.

"David Steingberg, in his Cambodia: Is people, its society, its culture 1957, also said: (to be continued)


Cambodia has a land area of 181,035 square kilometers in the southwestern part of the Indochina peninsula, about 20% of which is used for agriculture. It lies completely within the tropics with its southernmost points slightly more than 10º above the Equator. The country’s capital city is Phnom Penh. International borders are shared with Thailand and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on the west and on the north, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on the east and the southeast. The country is bounded on the southwest by the Gulf of Thailand. In comparison with its neighbors, Cambodia is a geographically compact country administratively composed of 20 provinces, three of which have relatively short maritime boundaries, 3 municipalities, 172 districts, and 1,547 communes. The country has a coastline of 435 km and extensive mangrove stands, some of which are relatively undisturbed.

The dominant features of the Cambodia landscape are the large, almost centrally located, Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the Bassac River systems and the Mekong River, which crosses the country from north to south. Surrounding the Central Plains which covered three quarters of the country’s area are the more densely forested and sparsely populated highlands, comprising: the Elephant Mountains and Cardamom Mountains of the southwest and western regions; the Dangrek Mountains of the north adjoining the Korat Planteau of Thailand; and the Ratanakiri Plateau and Chhlong highlands on the east merging with the Central Highlands of Vietnam.

The Tonle Sap Basin-Mekong Lowlands region consists mainly of plains with elevations generally of less than 100 meters. As the elevation increases, the terrain becomes more rolling and dissected. The Cardamom Mountains in the southwest rise to more than 1,500 meters and is oriented generally in a northwest-southeast direction. The highest mountain in Cambodia – Phnom Aural, at 1,771 meters – is in the eastern part of this range.

The Elephant Range, an extension of the Cardamom Mountains, runs toward the south and the southeast and rises to elevations of between 500 and 1,000 meters. These two ranges are bordered on the west by a narrow coastal plain facing the Gulf of Thailand that contains Kampong Som Bay. The Dangrek Mountains at the northern rim of the Tonle Sap Basin, consisting of a steep escarpment on the southern edge of the Korat Plateau in Thailand, marks the boundary between Thailand and Cambodia. The average elevation of about 500 meters with the highest points reaches more than 700 meters. Between the northern part of the Cardamom ranges and the western part of the Dangrek, lies an extension of the Tonle Sap Basin that merges into the plains in Thailand, allowing easy access from the border to Bangkok.

The Mekong River, Cambodia’s largest river, dominates the hydrology of the country. The river originates in mainland China, flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand before entering Cambodia. At Phnom Penh, with its alternative arms, the Bassak River form the south, and the Tonle Sap River linking with the “Great Lake” itself – Tonle Sap – from the northwest, it continues further southeastward to its lower delta in Vietnam and to the South China Sea.

The section of Mekong River passing through Cambodia lies within the tropical wet and dry zone. It has a pronounced dry season during the northern hemisphere winter, with about 80% of the annual rainfall occurring during the southwest monsoon in May-October. The Mekong River’s average annual flow at Kratie of 44km3 is estimated as 93% of the total Mekong run-off discharge into the sea. The discharge at Kratie ranges from a minimum of 1,250m3/s to a maximum 66,700m3/s.

The role of the Tonle Sap as a buffer of the Mekong River system floods and the source of beneficial dry season flows warrants explanation. The Mekong River swells with waters during the monsoon season reaching a flood discharge of 40,000 m3/s at Phnom Penh. By about mid?June, the g flow of the Mekong and the Bassak Rivers fed by monsoon rains, increases to a point where its outlets through the delta cannot handle the enormous volume of water, flooding extensive adjacent floodplains for 4-7 months. At this point, instead of overflowing its banks, its floodwaters reverse the flow of the Tonle Sap River (about 120 km in length), which then has a maximum inflow rate of 1.8 m/s and enters the Great Lake, the largest natural lake in Southeast Asia, increasing the size of the lake from about 2,600 km2 to 10,000 km2, at times exceptionally to 13,000 km2, and raising the water level by an average 7m at the height of the flooding. This specifity of the Tonle Sap River makes it the only "river with return" in the world.

After the Mekong's waters crest, the flow reverses and water flows out of the engorged lake. The Great Lake then acts as a natural flood retention basin. When the floods subside, water starts flowing out of the Great Lake, reaching a maximum outflow rate of 2.0 m/s and, over the dry season, increase mainstream flows by about 16%, thus helping to reduce salinity intrusion in the lower Mekong Delta in Viet Nam. By the time the lake water level drops to its minimum surface size, a band 20-30km wide of inundated forest is left dry with deposits of a new layer of sediment. This forest, which is of great significance for fish, is now greatly reduced in size through siltation and deforestation. The area flooded around Phnom Penh and down to the Vietnamese border is border is about 7,000km2.

Cambodia Names

Names have been given to Cambodia so many times over the last few decades thus there are logical justification for confusion. For the Cambodian people, Kampuchea is their country. The name derived from the word Kambu-ja, meaning “those born of Kambu”, the mythical founder of the country. It dates back as far as the 10th century. The Portuguese “Camboxa” and the French “Cambodge”, from which the English name Cambodia is derived, are adaptations of “Kambu-ja”. Since gaining independence in 1953, the country has been given so many names before coming back to its original.

Kingdom of Cambodia

-Le Royaume du Cambodge in French

Khmer Republic

-1970 to 1975
Lon Nol

Democratic Kampuchea

1975 to 1979
-Khmer Rough

People’s Republic of Kampuchea

1979 to 1989
Heng Samrin, Chea Sim and Hun Sen

State of Cambodia

-L’Etat du Cambodge in French
-1989 to May 1993
Heng Samrin, Chea Sim and Hun Sen

Kingdom of Cambodia

-Le Royaume du Cambodge in French
May 1993 to Present, General Election

July 13, 2008

Cambodia Profile: Summary

-Official Country Name: Kingdom of Cambodia
- Motto: Nation – Religion – King
- Government: Constitutional Monarchy, Norodom Sihanony - King of Cambodia
- Capital City: Phnom Penh
- Major Cities: Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, Kompong Cham
- Major Lakes/River: Tonle Sap Lake, Tonle Sap River, Bassac River and Mekong River
- International Airports: Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
- Language: The official language is Khmer however English, Chinese and French are widely spoken.
- Population of Cambodia: 13.1 millions (2001 estimate) and 90 percent of those are Khmers and remaining is Chams (Islam), Chinese, Vietnamese and Hill tribes.
- Ethnic Groups: Khmer 90% and the rest are Ethnic Chinese, Ethnic-Vietnamese, Cham, and Several Hill Tribes
- Population of Phnom Penh: 1,184,945 (2001 estimate)
- Land Area of Cambodia: 181,035 square kilometers
- Land Area of Phnom Penh: 357 square kilometers
- Official Religion: Theravada Buddhism 90% and the rest are Islam and Christianity
- Electricity: Electricity in Cambodia is 220 volts with various electric sockets but adapters are widely available at any electric appliance store, which is located on street sides or business streets.
- Time: Cambodia has one time zone and seven (7) hours ahead of GMT
- Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. The climate is tropical and distinguishes three major seasons 1
- March to May: Hot, temperature average 28 to 35C2 - June to October: Rainy, temperature average 25 to 30C 3
- November to February: Cool, temperature average 20 to 28C

Passport and Visas:
Cambodia has very liberal visa regulations. It is meant to say a valid passport and visa are required for entry. Visas can be obtained at Phnom Penh International Airport or Siem Reap (Angkor) Airport. All travelers have to do is bring along two passport size photos and fill up visa application. A one-month tourist visa costs US$20 while a business visa costs US$25.00. Visa application form will be provided on inbound flights. Visas are also available at Thai/Cambodian overland border crossing.

Airport Tax:
International Departures: US$20
Domestic Departure: US$10

Riel is the Cambodia’s currency. To check for the today’s exchange rate, please refer to our GoCambodia’s front-page, located top right page. However the US dollar is widely accepted
- Travelers’ cheques: can be changed at most banks in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville and Kompong Cham.
- Credit cards: Visa, Master, JCB and American Express are the most widely accepted especially at the major hotels and restaurants in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville. If you plan to travel to outskirts, it is advisable to use small change in US dollars although the Riel is acceptable.

Although vaccination is not official required, it is recommended that traveler get vaccinated for cholera, typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A and B if you are going to the provinces.

To and From Cambodia: Most tourists are flying into the International Airports at either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Recently a growing numbers of visitors are also arriving overland from Vietnam and Thailand.

On arrival, Motorcycle taxis (Motodub) and taxis can be rented just outside the arrival lobby. From Phnom Penh International airport to anywhere in Phnom Penh will cost you $7.00 while Motordub is charging $1.00 to $2.00. The distance is about 8 kilometers to town.

Room rate is starting from $3 to $100 per night. Whether you prefer to stay at Guest Houses with no air-con but fan, a motel style will cost you from $10 to $45 or you may stay at one of the 5 stars hotel e.g. Cambodiana, Le Royal or Inter-Continental. The cost of $10 and up will equip with air conditioner, refrigerator and a cable TV.

The country code for Cambodia is 855. The telephone networks consists of satellite, landlines, cellular, GSM and radio systems which connect Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Kompong Cham and other provinces internationally. International dialing can be done at main postal offices, private business centers or hotel or at public phone booths, which can be found at postal office, main streets, gas stations, major restaurants, hotels etc. If you want a lower rate and clear sound is not a factor, there are many Internet café are offering International calling for a price less than $0.10 per minute to most developed countries.

Postal Services:
The main postal service in Phnom Penh is located on the corner of street 102 and 13, which is east of Wat Phnom Penh. From there, you can send parcels, telegrams etc. It opens daily from 6:30AM to 5:00PM

Business Hours:
Government offices are open from 7:30AM to 5:00PM on weekday; the lunch break is from 12:00 to 2:00PM. Most businesses, restaurants open from 7:00AM to 8:00PM while most banks operate from 7:30AM to 3:30PM on weekday and some are half day on Saturday.

Tipping and Bargaining
Tipping is not expected in Cambodia but if you meet with exceptional services or kindness, a tip is always appreciated. Salaries remain extremely low in Cambodia. Bargaining is the rule in the markets, when you are hiring vehicles or buying things. A persuasive smile and a little friendly personality is usually enough to get a good price

July 7, 2008

Universities in Cambodia

Cambodian University of Specialties

Norton University

Cambodian Mekong University

University of Cambodia

Royal University of Phnom Penh

National University of Management

Build Bridge University

Pannasastra University

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July 3, 2008

Norodom Sihanouk - Former King of Cambodia

Royal Family
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Cambodian Government

King, Premier, Organization, Country
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Laws, Travel, Food in Cambodia

Cambodian Laws
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Want to Find a Good Job in Cambodia

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by Cuteman

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