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Are Thailand and Cambodia Heading to War?

Over the past week, fighting between Thailand and Cambodia over the disputed Preah Vihear border temple has left its bloodiest toll in at least a decade. At least seven people have been killed in recent days and dozens of soldiers on both sides wounded, as the Thai and Cambodian militaries trade rifle and artillery fire

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Over the past week, fighting between Thailand and Cambodia over the disputed Preah Vihear border temple has left its bloodiest toll in at least a decade. At least seven people have been killed in recent days and dozens of soldiers on both sides wounded, as the Thai and Cambodian militaries trade rifle and artillery fire.

Now, the fact that people are getting killed over a small amount of disputed territory and an (admittedly beautiful) temple does, to many observers, seem absurd. But the conflict also points to a bigger problem: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seems to have diminishing control over the Thai military, which is largely responsible for his place in office. On the Thai side, the conflict is being pushed by nationalists linked to the People’s Alliance for Democracy, but the military men taking action along the border often seem to be doing so either without informing Abhisit or informing his office well after the fact.

This is part of a disturbing and growing trend. It’s widely known in Thailand that the military helped broker the coalition government, with Abhisit at the head, bringing down several pro-Thaksin governments that followed Thaksin’s exile. But how much control does Abhisit have now over his armed forces? To take one example, the Thai military budget has roughly doubled in the past five years, yet the army is spending its money on seemingly useless projects like a new division based in the Northeast – a project long pushed by the military’s godfather, Prem Tinsulonanda, but which has relatively little real use today. (After all, the money could easily be used in the south, home to a serious insurgency, or on the border with Burma.)

Abhisit also appeared to have little control over the military’s actions during the violence in Bangkok during last April and May. And Abhisit seems unable to control the security forces’ meddling in, or denying help to, the investigations into the killings in Bangkok last April and May.

Where might this all lead? It’s not hard to imagine, particularly as the question of royal succession becomes more evident and the military increasingly feels it alone can defend the crown. Recently, army chief Prayuth chan-Ocha has been publicly denying that the military plans to stage a coup, as rumors of the possibility swirl in Bangkok. But, remember that only days before the last coup, in 2006, the military was denying it had any such intentions. Don’t bet against it this year either.

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Are Thailand and Cambodia Heading to War?

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Cambodia

CLMV’s economic growth crashes to two-decade low due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has caused the rate of economic growth in the CLMV bloc to be at its lowest in two decades, the CLMV economies could grow at 3.4 percent this year

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The COVID-19 pandemic is having a negative impact on CLMV economies through their dependency on foreign-sourced revenue from tourism and exports says KResearchCenter.

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Cambodia’s aid and investment affair with China

China is Cambodia’s biggest aid provider and Chinese investors hold almost a quarter of Cambodia’s total FDI stock. Distinguishing Chinese aid from investment is difficult, but there is no doubting China’s huge economic impact in Cambodia.

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The debate about China’s rapidly growing global investment and development financing footprint has focused on deciphering Chinese intentions — whether China aims to revise or maintain the US-led ‘liberal international order’.

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Thailand pushes CLMVT as the “New Value Chain Hub of Asia”

The Ministry of Commerce, in cooperation with 11 relevant agencies, hosted the CLMVT Forum 2019 with delegates from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK, 24 June 2019 (NNT) – Thailand’s Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, today attended the opening of the CLMVT Forum 2019, and urged its member countries to push for the development of the CLMVT Regional Value Chain, so that they can have more bargaining power and improve the well-being of their citizens.

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