The Domestic Politics of Foreign Policy: Thailand vs. Cambodia at the Temple of Preah Vihear
In February 2011, Thai and Cambodian troops again clashed on their common border over the status of the ancient Temple of Preah Vihear. Both sides suffered casualties, including deaths. Since it began in 2008, the dispute has envenomed Thai-Cambodian relations. In Thailand a key factor behind the conflict has been the nationalist claim by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) that the temple belongs to Thailand. PAD’s campaign over the issue must be seen in the context of its successful mobilization of mass opposition to the government in power at that time. Prof. Puangthong R. Pawakapan will explain how the dispute arose, how it was aggravated by political rivalry inside Thailand, and what its future outcome and implications could be.
Puangthong R. Pawakapan is an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Topics of her publications include Thai foreign policy and the Cambodia genocide. Her 1995 University of Wollongong PhD dissertation covered Thai-Cambodian relations in the 19th century. She has been a visiting scholar at Yale University, and has worked as a journalist and been active in non-governmental organizations in Thailand.