Dynamic Roles and Perceptions: The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Temple Dispute


  • Ornthicha Duangratana Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University


Thailand, Cambodia, Preah Vihear, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, border dispute


Thailand and Cambodia have long experienced swings between discordant and agreeable relations. Importantly, contemporary tensions between Thailand and Cambodia largely revolve around the disputed area surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple, or Phra Viharn Temple (in Thai). The dispute over the area flared after the independence of Cambodia. This situation resulted in the International Court of Justice adjudicating the dispute in 1962. Then, as proactive cooperation with regards to the Thai-Cambodian border were underway in the 2000s, the dispute erupted again and became salient between the years 2008 to 2013.

This paper explores the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) perceptions towards the overlapping border claim since the Cold War and concentrates on the changes in perceptions in the period from 2008 to 2013 when the Preah Vihear temple dispute rekindled. Moreover, to study their implications on the Thai-Cambodian relations, those perceptions are analyzed in connection to the roles of the MFA in the concurrent Thai foreign-policy apparatus. 

Under the aforementioned approach, the paper makes the case that the international environment as well as the precedent organizational standpoint significantly compels the MFA’s perceptions.  Nevertheless, during nationalist fervors, the resultant more contentious outlooks towards the Thai-Cambodian relations also have consequences for the ministry. Simultaneously, the implementation of the MFA’s perceptions depended upon the influence of the MFA in the interplay of actors in the Thai foreign-policy domain.  


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How to Cite

Duangratana, O. (2019). Dynamic Roles and Perceptions: The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Temple Dispute. Thai Journal of East Asian Studies, 23(1), 58–83. Retrieved from https://so02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/easttu/article/view/213411



Research Article