Fighting has flared again along the border dividing Cambodia and Thailand, displacing thousands of residents and heightening tensions in an already tense region. The United States is deeply troubled by the ongoing clashes, and is closely monitoring the situation. We are in close communication with both nations, urging them to exercise maximum restraint and take all necessary steps to cease hostilities and avoid further conflict and needless tragedy.
The latest fighting occurred around Ta Moan and Ta Krabey, religious sites that are hotly disputed by the two neighbors. A third temple complex in Preah Vihear has been the focus of armed tensions and military buildup since 2008, when the United Nations listed it as a World Heritage site under Cambodian administration. At least a dozen people have been killed and thousands of people uprooted on both sides of the border over several days of dueling artillery and small weapons fire.
Larger issues surrounding the dispute date to the era of French colonization, so grievances have had many years to fester. Regional and international efforts to mediate the crisis have produced dialogue, but so far no resolution. As the standoff continues, so does the human tragedy.
The U.S. takes no side in the dispute and supports any resolution process that is acceptable to both parties. We applaud the efforts of Indonesia, as chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations, to work with both countries. We urge the governments of Thailand and Cambodia to resolve their disputes peacefully to strengthen the stability of this vital region of the world.