US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (3rd-left) with
ASEAN ministry officials©AFP - Romeo Gacad
SINGAPORE (AFP) - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday called for a peaceful resolution to a dangerous border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia as Asia's main security talks were held here.
Foreign ministers from the region and key world powers gathered in Singapore for the ASEAN Regional Forum after an unprecedented meeting here Wednesday between Rice and her North Korean counterpart.
The 27-nation security talks were held against the backdrop of the devastating Myanmar cyclone and Chinese earthquake in May, as well as the bitter territorial dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.
Rice said the deployment of hundreds of troops on either side of the border was an issue of concern.
"It is something that has been a subject of discussion. We are concerned about it and there needs to be a way to resolve it peacefully," she told reporters ahead of the forum.
"We'll continue to consult with the regional states... We're going to be guided very heavily by the views of the countries in this region."
Graphic showing the members of the ASEAN Regional Forum©AFP
More than 500 Thai troops and at least 1,000 Cambodian soldiers are facing off over a small patch of land near the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple, in one of the most dangerous flare-ups of regional tensions in decades.
The dispute is expected to be discussed later Thursday at the UN Security Council after Cambodia called for the world body to help resolve the issue.
Thailand has resisted outside mediation and crisis talks earlier this week among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations failed to break the deadlock.