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Cambodian minister gives Laos deadline to remove troops

As the world turns its attention to the Korean Peninsula, tensions between two other nations in Southeast Asia continue to rise to frightening heights.

The prime minister of Cambodia on Friday issued a six-day “ultimatum” to Laos — to remove a group of troops who have allegedly trespassed across their border — or face a military response.

“I appeal to Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith to withdraw the forces out of Cambodia without any conditions — and the latest deadline is Aug. 17,” said minister Hun Sen.

“We don’t want to have a dispute with Laos, but we also cannot allow the situation remain like this anymore,” he explained, adding that he was running out of patience with “the invasion” by Laos troops back in April.

“We just want our land back,” Sen said. “I give you six days.”

Cambodia and Laos share a 335-mile land border, which is left largely unguarded in most parts.

This ultimately leads to territorial disputes between the typically friendly countries, both of which have communist governments. But it appears that Cambodian officials have grown tired of Laos’ alleged advances into the nation following reports that they had refused to leave an area in Stung Treng province.

At least 30 soldiers were said to have crossed over from Laos in April. They were allegedly trying to stop Cambodian military engineers from building a road in the area, according to The Cambodia Daily newspaper.

Sen said Friday that officials had ordered the troops to leave, but they “did not retreat.” He also claimed to have called the Laotian prime minister several times over the past few months — and got no response.

“I want to go to Laos to speak clearly about whether or not the forces will be withdrawn,” Sen said.

In the meantime, Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh and generals Pol Saroeun — commander-in-chief of the military — and Kun Kim, his deputy, have been ordered to prepare for battle.

“If a situation happens, please don’t blame Cambodia,” Sen said ominously.

With Post wires

Source: http://nypost.com/2017/08/11/cambodian-minister-gives-laos-deadline-to-remove-troops/

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