Cambodia to open Preah Vihear only after Thai withdrawal

A correction to a previous post reporting that Preah Vihear is set to reopen (thanks Alison!), Cambodia has announced that the gate to Preah Vihear will remian closed until the situation has returned to its pre-conflict state.

Phay Siphan: The Preah Vihear gate will be opened only when Thai troops have been withdrawn
Radio Free Asia, via Khmerization, 11 February 2009

A Cambodian official said that Cambodia will consider opening the entry to Preah Vihear from the Thai side only when all Thai troops are withdrawn from the areas.

The entry to Preah Vihear from the Thai side has been closed when Thai troops invaded the areas on 15th October 2008 after the temple was declared a world heritage site.

Mr. Phay Siphan (pictured), spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said that Cambodia will consider opening the gate when there is no more deployments of Thai troops in the areas. He said: “At this moment, we are insisting for the return of these areas to the pre-15th July 2008 situation. This is the point that we are demanding. And we made it clear that whenever the conflict is resolved, we will turn the areas into an international tourist zone and tha’ts when we will open the entry from the Thai side.”


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

1 thought on “Cambodia to open Preah Vihear only after Thai withdrawal”

  1. You have to wonder what “only when all Thai troops are withdrawn from the areas” means. As anyone who’s been there from the Thai side knows, there’s a small Thai army compound right at the end of Highway 221, just before the “no man’s land” that leads to Preah Vihear. The distance to the border gate is maybe 300m.

    And, of course, the end of Hwy 221 is nicely marked as a landing zone for helos.

    Google Earth imagery still is low-resolution in the area.

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