Special report: Thai-Cambodia in the midst of relationship crisis.

The provocative remarks made by Cambodia’s Prime Minister Mr Hun Sen during his face-off with the media upon arrival at the ASEAN venue was deemed unethical diplomacy towards Thailand, as the Chair of the 15th ASEAN Summit and related summits.

Regarding his unprecedented press interview, the Cambodia’s Prime Minister adamantly stated he would provide refuge to his so-called friend, self-exiled Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and appoint him as an economic adviser for Cambodian government. Mr Hun Sen obviously intervened in Thailand’s internal affairs with his confirmation that he would not comply with the extradition treaty agreement with Thailand to bring Mr Thaksin back to serve prison term in Thailand.

The Cambodia’s Prime Minister’s remarks received a quick response from Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who mentioned that Mr Hun Sen might have some misunderstandings concerning the convicted ex-prime minister which made him plan to offer a home in Cambodia and appoint Mr Thaksin as an economic advisor. He also suggested that his Cambodian counterpart reconsider his stance and balance between the national interest of both countries and an individual. Furthermore, the Prime Minister instructed Mr Hun Sen not to allow anybody to use him as a tool in the matter. The Cambodian Prime Minister’s statement to offer a home in Cambodia for the deposed prime minister was a clear indication that Mr Hun Sen evidently supported Mr Thaksin despite his knowledge about the real status of the self-exiled ex-prime minister, who was ousted by the military coup d’etat in 2006 and later convicted by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to face a two-year jail term in Thailand. In addition, several arrest warrants were issued against the former prime minister on the charges of corruption, national security and lese majeste as well.

His recent press interview was not only meddling in Thailand’s domestic affairs and destroying the country’s national security but also breaching the rules of the ASEAN Community as it prohibits ASEAN country members to intervene in other countries’ internal affairs. Mr Hun Sen’s action raised suspicions over what his ulterior motive would when he welcomed the convicted ex-prime minister and newly-appointed Puea Thai Chairman, General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who recently made his one-day visit to Phnom Penh.

The Thai Prime Minister stressed that the remark made by the Cambodia’s Prime Minister was currently not serious enough for Thailand to sever ties with Cambodia, but admitted that it was up to the Cambodian Prime Minister to strengthen or weaken the bilateral relationship between the two countries in the days to come as what he had done was not only harmful to the Thai-Cambodia relationship but also the ASEAN’s reputation and solidarity.

News ID: 255210290002

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