Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thailand to protest Cambodian patrol in disputed area

Published: 20/08/2009
Bangkok Post

The Defence Ministry plans a strongly-worded protest over a Cambodian patrol entering a disputed maritime area near Koh Kut in Trat province, a source says.

The protest will be lodged through the Foreign Ministry.

Two Cambodian warships were seen patrolling in the disputed area last week.

The patrol was in breach of an agreement on disputed and overlapping areas which requires the two countries to inform the other of any plans for a patrol and for the patrol to be a joint operation.

The source said the Cambodian patrol was probably in response to the Thai navy's move to set up a new base on Koh Kut to reinforce its patrol missions following a report that Cambodia had allowed a French oil company to carry out surveys in the disputed area.

Meanwhile, the navy has apologised to Cambodia after a patrol plane strayed into Cambodian airspace.

The Phnom Penh Post yesterday cited Cambodian general Bun Seng as saying the commander of the Chanthaburi-Trat airbase had written that the incident was due to bad weather affecting the aircraft's navigation system."We accepted the letter of apology by the Thai military but we have warned Thailand's airbase that we will not take responsibility for a second repeated airspace violation," Gen Bun Seng said.

Navy spokesman Prachachart Srisawat said it was not unusual for planes from Thailand and Cambodia to accidentally cross over into each other's territory.

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