Politicising border issues stymies progress
The upcoming further integration of Asean in 2015, together with recent stories about ICJ rulings, highlight a very real issue facing Thailand - the many lingering disputes that remain along its borders.
It is truly amazing that Thailand has failed to permanently solve so many issues regarding its borders with otherwise friendly neighbours. I refer not only to Preah Vihear, but also other poorly defined borders, ethnic tensions and persistent refugee problems on just about every side. This opens the door for politicians to play the "xenophobia card" to score points with voters. The other party is then forced to raise the tension in order to try to counter-score. Nobody seems to be acting in the interests of the country here. We have seen this become a factor recently not only over Preah Vihear but also the unrest in the deep South. The truly patriotic thing would be to work to resolve these issues and move on to benefit from an improved political and trade climate.
There is an urgent need to take politics out of these vital matters of international relations. I hope the ASEAN integration will prove the spur to achieve this and lead to lasting settlement of these festering problems.