Golf delegations from Cambodian and Thai defense ministries teed off this week in a spot of golf diplomacy ahead of talks aimed at resolving their territorial dispute.
Cambodia's defence minister Tea Banh and his Thai counterpart Prawit Wongsuwan played a round in the northwestern tourist hub of Siem Reap with other military officials ahead of their Wednesday border negotiations. The round was hosted by the Phokeethra Country Club.
General Neang Phat said, “We are playing golf with the Thai delegation now. We will talk about the border issue later.”
Military officials from the two countries also golfed together in Siem Reap last October after fighting erupted between the two countries on disputed land around 11th-century Preah Vihear temple. Troops from the two countries have been in a border standoff since tensions flared last July, when the cliff-top temple was awarded United Nations World Heritage status.
Ownership of the temple was awarded to Cambodia in 1962, but the two countries are in dispute over five square kilometers of land around the temple which has yet to be officially demarcated.
The first golf match was won by Cambodia. In this week’s match the Thai’s won on a count back. Score Thailand 1 and Cambodia 1.
I guess the border dispute will have to go on until clear winner can be determined in the next golf match. Other nations should take a cue from the Thai’s and use golf diplomacy to settle things. If golf works in business, then I see no reason it can’t work in government.