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Tensions Escalate Over Temple at Thai-Cambodian Borders བོད་སྐད།


Thai villagers and police have blocked protesters from reaching an ancient temple that is the subject of a diplomatic dispute with Cambodia.

Villagers are worried about the escalation of tensions between the southeast Asian neighbors over the site. They shouted at protesters Thursday and told them to "go home" and stop making trouble.

Thailand and Cambodia have each sent troops to the border in the dispute over the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple. The International Court of Justice granted sovereignty of the temple to Cambodia in 1962, but Thai nationalists want to reclaim it.

Thailand now has more than 400 troops at the border, twice as many as a day ago, and the number of Cambodian troops has increased to about 800.

Senior officials of the two countries have agreed to meet in the next few days to discuss the issue.


The dispute over the temple intensified last month when Thailand's government agreed to support Cambodia's bid to win World Heritage status for the ruins.

Opposition forces in Thailand have used the dispute to stoke nationalist fervor and increase their efforts to oust the government.

Earlier this month, the United Nations' cultural organization (the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO) designated the temple a World Heritage Site.

On Tuesday, Thai soldiers crossed the border after Cambodian authorities arrested three activists for entering the country illegally to reach the ancient temple. The activists have since been released to Thai authorities.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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