Preah Vihear: for those of you just tuning in

Most readers would already be familiar with the Preah Vihear dispute between Cambodia and Thailand, simmering over a piece of land surrounding the World Heritage Site that has caused tensions between the two countries. The Southeast Asian Globe has a pretty good round-up of the dispute and provides a good summary of the story so far. To check out some of the stories that I’ve indexed over the last few years on the Preah Vihear dispute, click here.

Stones of Contention
Southeast Asia Globe, 28 September 2010

For decades, Preah Vihear has been witness to a war of words and sporadic fights between Cambodian and Thai troops over territorial claims.

The 11th century cultural tourist site lies at the heart of a border dispute that harks back 100 years and was re-ignited in 1954 when Thai forces occupied the temple following French withdrawal from Cambodia. Cambodia’s successful bid to have the temple listed as a Unesco World Heritage site in July 2008 sparked the recent series of cross-border spats and political posturing. Since then, nationalists, media sensationalists and politicians pursuing private agendas have commandeered the temple. All the while, tourists and cultural enthusiasts are left waiting in the wings for the curtain to finally close on the drama, so they can visit this World Heritage site in peace.

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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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