Cambodia-Thailand Temple Dispute Escalates

PREAH VIHEAR, Cambodia — The standoff between Bangkok and Phnom Penh over control of temples along the border of the two countries escalated after Thai troops moved into and occupied another holy site in the disputed border region.

The second temple at Ta Moan Thom is about 200 miles west of Preah Vihear.

A Cambodian government spokesman said Cambodian soldiers would work to avoid any showdown with Thai troops, who were ordered into the area after UNESCO responded to lobbying by Cambodia and listed Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site.

Reports said 70 Thai soldiers had been occupying the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple since Thursday. The temple is located 200 meters inside Cambodia from the internationally recognized border in the remote northwestern region of Cambodia.

Preah Vihear sits 700 meters inside the Cambodia border and Cambodian soveriegnty over the site was reaffirmed in 1962 by an international court.

The area in the Dangrek Mountains has been in dispute despite agreements reached between the two countries in 1908.

The photos below were taken on a recent visit to Preah Vihear.

Cambodian soldiers patrol the 11th-century ruins at Preah Vihear, where the standoff over the disputed temple has escalated with Thailand (Luke Hunt).

Another Cambodian soldier on patrol (Luke Hunt).

A boy prays inside the main temple (Luke Hunt).

The main temple from the outside (Luke Hunt).