The Cambodian government is planning to install a new international border checkpoint close to the disputed Preah Vihear temple.
The Phnom Penh Post reported officials in Preah Vihear province as saying that plans are in place for a new permanent border crossing connecting Cambodia with the eastern Thai province of Ubon Ratchathani.
There is already a border crossing between Preah Vihear and Thailand’s Surin province, but it is not an international crossing, meaning that visitors – including tourists to the nearby temples – must return to Thailand the same day.
“These days, this gateway is open only two days a week, but we want it to become an international checkpoint that is open every day of the week,” Preah Vihear’s Governor Um Mara was quoted saying. “We are preparing the infrastructure there first, but the opening date is unknown at this time,” he added.
The new international checkpoint, reported to be named ‘Anses’, will be located approximately 60km from the disputed border temples of Preah Vihear. Thailand and Cambodia were involved in a series of exchanges in the area in 2011, killing soldiers on both sides as well as local residents. Cambodia also claimed that the UNESCO World Heritage-listed temples were damaged by Thai shelling.
The new gateway between Preah Vihear and Ubon Racthathani however, could boost both a trade and tourism. Thailand’s easternmost province, Ubon Racthathani, lies in the ‘Emerald Triangle’ where the borders of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos converge. It also offers a border crossing connecting to the Lao city of Pakse on the Mekong River, as well as a range of national parks.
There are currently six border crossings between the Cambodia and Thailand, but this will be the first into Ubon Ratchathani province.