Alternative Suggestions to Handle Thai-Cambodian Conflict

Suranand Vejjajiva wrote an op-ed in which he pointed out that some of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s moves regarding our relationship with Cambodia might not have been the best choices.

Are we willing to throw some 30 years of relationship building with a neighbouring country like Cambodia down the drain just to catch one man? And that is just in modern times. For centuries, Thai and Khmer culture has been closely related and share many heritages. Local communities around the border areas speak the same language. Border demarcation lines are imaginary to them as they cross daily to trade and mingle.

He also criticized the recall of Thailand’s ambassador from Cambodia last year, and points out the negative effects this now has.

The price paid is that it closed down high level communications channel and valuable insights and intelligence. Diplomacy has been left to politicians and the military, creating a weakness in our strategic positioning on wide ranging issues including trade and investment. All of which constitute building blocks of a peaceful coexistence and leverage in times of need.

He concludes by writing:

It is the same for us Thais as the actual use of force will lead the country down a troubled road and a “lose-lose” situation for both sides.

Wealth, however, can be created and shared though cooperation and friendship. If viewed in this aspect, the government has to start picking up the pieces of building blocks it has disregarded and work towards rebuilding the damaged relationship. Only as friends can fights be avoided.