Thai and Cambodian forces have exchanged artillery and mortar rounds this afternoon as tension was raised once more along the disputed border area. The exchange of fire took place close to Preah Vihear Temple with a Thai television channel reporting that one Thai villager in the area has been killed. It is not yet known if any casualties occurred on the Cambodian side of the border.
This isn’t the first time in recent years that Thai and Cambodian forces have clashed in the sensitive border area. However, the events this afternoon took place on the same day that the Thai foreign minister, Kasit Piromya, was meeting with his Cambodian counterpart in Siem Reap in an attempt to diffuse some of the tensions between the two countries.
The latest border skirmish comes on the eve of a rally by Thai nationalists which is set to take place in Bangkok tomorrow. The yellow shirt group known as the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have made the border dispute with Cambodia their main rallying call and are protesting over what they view as the Thai government’s weak handling of the border issue. Anger has also increased amongst the yellow shirt supporters following the recent jailing of two Thai members of the yellow shirt movement found guilty of spying by a Cambodian court.