Thailand and Cambodia have been embroiled in a new diplomatic fight this week. It follows the accusation from Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) that Cambodia provided assistance for a group of red shirt militants to set up a training camp near Siem Reap. The accusation from the Thai DSI follows the arrest of 11 alleged red shirt militants in northern Thailand earlier this month. The DSI said that information gathered from the arrested Thai men points to an operation in Cambodia which reportedly involved 39 hard-line red shirt activists who were receiving weapons training in order to carry out sabotage attacks and assassinations of VIPs in Thailand. The DSI report went on to say that the Thai militant group training in Cambodia had received financial assistance from key figures attached to the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). The UDD are one of the main groups behind Thailand’s red shirt movement and it was the UDD who organised the anti-government protests in Bangkok earlier this year.
Prime Minister Abhisit of Thailand has been more diplomatic in his use of language than the Thai DSI and has said that a full investigation still needs to be carried out. However, Cambodia has reacted angrily to accusation that they were involved in a terrorist training camp on their soil. A Cambodian government spokesman said Cambodia ‘strongly demands that Thailand’s DSI put an end to the dirty games of concocting evidence to deflect Thailand’s public opinion from Thailand’s own internal political and social problems.’
This latest diplomatic row between Thailand and Cambodia forms part of a series of incidents. As well as the long-running dispute over the Preah Vihear Temple, there is also the issue of Thaksin Shinwatara. The former Thai leader is a friend of Cambodian PM Hun Sen and Thaksin was appointed special adviser to Cambodia in November 2009. That appointment led to the formal break-off of Thai-Cambodian relations although diplomatic relations were restored in August of this year following Thaksin’s resignation from his Cambodian role.