BANGKOK (BNO NEWS) -- Thailand's Foreign Affairs Ministry denied accusations made by the Cambodian government that Thai military aircraft had violated that country's airspace recently, said Thani Thongpakdi, director-general of the Ministry's Information Department, on Sunday.
According to MCOT Online news, Thani told journalists that the accusations were groundless after the Thai foreign affairs ministry was informed by the Thai military that planes had never intruded into Cambodian territory. He added that the ministry will send a letter to the Cambodian government denying the charges.
The protest letter, issued by Cambodia's foreign ministry and handed to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday, charged that Thai military aircraft intruded into Cambodian airspace over Poi Pet on May 31. It said that a Thai L-19 military aircraft again violated Cambodia's airspace on Wednesday while two days later, on June 3, a Thai soldier flew on a private aircraft and conducted unspecified activities over Battambang province.
"While remaining committed to exercising utmost restraint in order to avoid further armed clashes between the two armed forces, Cambodia reserves its legitimate rights to self-defense and to safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity," the protest note said.
Tensions first escalated between the two countries in July 2008 following the build-up of military forces near the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple. The United Nations Security Council urged both sides to establish a permanent ceasefire after at least 10 people were killed.
Clashes resumed in February as both nations claim the lands surrounding the ancient Hindu Temple, which has been damaged due to the conflict. The Preah Vihear temple dates back to the 11th century and is located on the Cambodian side of the border.
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