Cambodian-Thai conflict fuelled by ignorance

I suspect that the present conflict over the shared borders between Cambodia and Thailand are fuelled by politics and parties capitalising on nationalist pride more than historical or archaeological accuracy. So it’s no surprise, and in some sense it is, that students don’t know about the histories of their neighbouring countries which has also contributed to the heated arguments over the ownership of the temple and the land surrounding it.

Border Conflict Helped by Ignorance: Scholar
VOA News Khmer – 05 April 2011

While Cambodia and Thailand continue their protracted dispute over the border, scholars in the US said last week both neighbors should look deeper into their history and remove internal politics to ease the tension.

While acknowledging that Thai-Cambodian conflicts have deep roots, he also noted that both countries have little understanding of their related histories. Students in Thailand know little about the history of Angkor Wat, while Cambodians remain unaware of their religious ties to Thailand, he said.

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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.

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