Cambodian, Thai troops friendly to each other after deadly border clash
The Cambodian and Thai troops have become friendly to each other, despite the fact that an armed clash killed two Cambodians and wounded more Thais on Oct. 15 near the Preah Vihear Temple at the border area, officers told Xinhua on Monday.
"They are shaking hands, talking to each other and asking about daily food," said Thol Sovan, deputy military commander of the Cambodian side at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda, which is situated on the only road leading to the temple.
They had good relationship and both troops at the pagoda didn't exchange gunfire on Oct. 15, he said.
"The Thai side didn't (dare to) shoot at us here, because we were all around them at that time," he said.
But Thai soldiers elsewhere shot at them, he said, while pointing at newly burnt branches of the jack fruit tree in front of the pagoda.
Meanwhile, Thai military major Apichaut Poo Paud told Xinhua that the troops themselves were like brothers and didn't have problem with each other.
"We have good cooperation and relationship," he said, adding that 10 Thai soldiers and two interpreters stayed in the pagoda compound.
In other places, Cambodia and Thailand were keeping the same number of soldiers, he added.
Srey Doek, regional military commander of Cambodia, told Xinhuathat the situation near the temple was now normal and calm.
However, the number of both troops within the territory is roughly estimated at a thousand strong, he added.
After the Oct. 15 armed conflict, both troops have agreed to conduct joint patrol of the border area, but the two governments have postponed their talks from Tuesday (Oct. 21) to Friday (Oct. 24) to find peaceful solution to their border dispute.
In July, tensions ran high after the ancient Preah Vihear Temple was awarded world heritage status, angering nationalists in Thailand who still claimed ownership of the site.
The tension later turned into a military stalemate, in which up to 1,000 Cambodian and Thai troops faced off for several weeks.
In early October, at least one Cambodian soldier and two Thai troops were wounded during sporadic exchange of gunfire and two other Thai soldiers were seriously injured after stepping on a landmine at the border area.