Cambodia, Thai soldiers exchange gunfire at border

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodian and Thai soldiers engaged in a brief gunbattle in a disputed border area Saturday, with Cambodia accusing its neighbor of instigating their latest clash. No injuries were immediately reported.

Troops fired rifles, machine guns and rockets in the 15-minute gunbattle near the Ou Smach checkpoint in northern Cambodia, said Pech Sokhin, governor of Oddar Meanchey province where the border is located.

The countries accuse each of encroaching on the other's territory.

Pech Sokhin said the Thai soldiers fired shots after Cambodian troops ignored a demand to shift their location deeper into Cambodia.

"Once the Thais got back to their side, Thai forces opened fighting and Cambodia had to respond," Pech Sokhin said, adding that no Cambodian soldiers were wounded.

Thai authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.

Gen. Chea Tara, Cambodia's deputy military commander, said commanders from both sides met and called a truce.

Relations between Cambodia and Thailand have been strained over the status of land at a historic temple at another spot along their border. The International Court of Justice in 1962 recognized the Preah Vihear temple as belonging to Cambodia, a decision only grudgingly accepted by Thailand and still challenged by Thai ultra-nationalists.

Deadly clashes have occurred near the temple.

Thailand also was angered last year when Cambodia named fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an adviser on economic affairs. Tensions worsened after a subsequent visit by Thaksin, and Cambodia's rejection of a formal request from Thailand to extradite him.