Thailand has nominated the Khmer-style Ta Muen Thom temple, situated on disputed Thai-Cambodian border area, to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the country's Fine Arts Department director general Kriengkrai Sampatchalit said Monday.
Kriengkrai said, The UNESCO is scheduled to consider the Thai nomination of the 13th-century Ta Muen Thom temple as well as other Khmer-style temples in Thailand's northeastern provinces Surin, Buri Ram and Nakhon Ratchasima under "the Khmer Civilization Route," in its meeting next year, according to a report by The Nation news website.
This move will be naturally viewed as a tit-for-tat response to the lingering dispute on the areas surrounding the disputed Preah Vihear temple.
"It is true that the Prasat (what Thai people call Khmer-style temples) is located just about 100 meters from the border in the Thai soil. The Fine Arts Department discovered and registered it as one of our Thai ancient items in 1935, or about 73 years ago," Kriengkrai was quoted by the report as saying.
The Thai side has since then renovated it and opened it for public long time ago, he said, adding the Cambodian government has acknowledged the renovation and all activities related to the place.
Kriengkrai responded to a recent report that the Cambodian troops tried to cross the border to visit the place, but was declined by the Thai army.
Also on Monday, Thailand's Supreme Commander Gen Boonsang Niampradit said that he has handed a letter to Cambodian authorities, stating that the land at the Ta Muen Thom temple belongs to Thailand.
The remarks came after reports said Cambodia accused Thai troops of occupying this temple on the border between Thailand's Surin province and Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey. The Cambodian authorities claimed ownership over the temple.