Call to make Preah Vihear an Asean heritage site

national November 19, 2013 00:00


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ACADEMICS yesterday proposed that the Hindu temple of Preah Vihear be an Asean Eco-Cultural heritage site, in order to reconcile with Cambodia after the prolonged conflict over the temple.

Top historian Professor Charnvit Kasetsiri would send an open letter to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urging her to put the idea before Asean. “I have proposed this idea to Prince Norodom Sirivudh, former foreign minister of Cambodia, and he agreed the two nations should use this as a symbol for good relations.”

Charnvit urged the government to pay respect to the rules and regulations upheld by the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and Asean. The professor is collecting signatures to support the idea and making an appointment to meet and discuss it with Yingluck.

“In the near future please consider bringing our three countries, three governments, and three peoples – Cambodia, Laos and Thailand – jointly nominating to Unesco that the area from Khao Yai extending to the Phnom Dongrak ranges, covering the Prasat Phanom Rung, Prasat Preah Vihear, Prasat Vat Phou, together with the land of the Emerald Triangle, and all the way down to the Middle Mekong Basin, Khone Phapeng-Li Phi, be registered as a peaceful zone: of Asean Eco-Cultural World Heritage,” he said in a seminar yesterday at Thammasat University.

The Hindu temple of Preah Vihear has been the source of a conflict between Thailand and Cambodia for a long time. The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the temple was situated in territory under the sovereignty of Cambodia. Thailand argued the area adjacent to the temple belonged to Thailand. Cambodia requested the court interpret the 1962 judgement. The ICJ last week ruled that Cambodia had sovereignty over “the whole promontory of Preah Vihear”.

Morakot Jewachinda Meyer, a lecturer at Pridi Banomyong International College of Thammasat University, said listing Preah Vihear as a trans-boundary heritage was possible. “If we don’t obsess too much on the boundary line, it is possible to [share it] with Cambodia. There are plenty of trans-boundary heritage sites in Europe.”

Akkharaphong Khamkhun, another lecturer at the Pridi Banomyong College, said Thailand does not claim Preah Vihear – but has many archaeological sites next to the temple, such as the twin stupas and Pa Mo E Daeng.

The judgement opened a chance for the two countries to redefine the area.


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