Laos beefs up patrols at border with Thailand, Cambodia

Laos beefs up patrols at border with Thailand, Cambodia Bangkok - Laos has beefed up patrols to prevent "any untoward happenings" in Champassak province, part of the tri-border area where Laos, Cambodia and Thailand meet, state radio broadcasts said Thursday.

Champassak's military command said the increased vigilance was necessary to prevent "untoward happenings" in the increasingly sensitive border area which has been drawn in to a Thai-Cambodian dispute, Radio Laos said in a broadcast monitored in Bangkok.

On Tuesday, Thailand protested to Cambodia against the deployment of Cambodian troops at Trimuk Pavilion in the tri-border area.

Thailand claimed that on September 18, seven Cambodian troops were deployed at Trimuk Pavilion, which is located in a still disputed part of the border.

The complaint follows a brief battle between Thai and Cambodian troops on October 15 near Preah Vihear temple, in which two Cambodian soldiers reportedly died and several Thais were wounded. One soldier died later in hospital.

Preah Vihear, an 11th century Hindu temple perched on a mountain range that vaguely defines that Thai-Cambodian border, has been the subject of a sovereignty dispute between the two neighbouring countries for more than five decades.

The International Court of Justice in the Hague awarded the temple to Cambodia in a controversial 1962 verdict but failed to rule on where the border line lies in the temple's surrounding areas, which are still subject to an intense dispute that has sparked nationalistic sentiments on both sides.

The temple, which was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July, could be a major tourism attraction for both countries.

At present, access to the temple is easiest on the Thai side from Sisakhet province, about 450 kilometres north-east of Bangkok.

Access to the temple has been blocked to the public since mid-July, a poor beginning for its new found status as a heritage site.

The border row promises to be a hot topic of discussion on the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Beijing on Friday and Saturday. (dpa)