Cambodia this week briefly detained three Thai citizens who crossed into Cambodia near the temple, which was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thailand claims some of the territory near Preah Vihear.
“We are not violating the territory of Cambodia. We have every right to deploy troops here to protect our sovereignty,” Thai Maj. Gen. Kanok Netakawesana, the regional army commander, said.
In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple and the land it occupies to Cambodia.
That verdict rankles many Thais, although the temple is culturally Cambodian, sharing the Hindu-influenced style of the more famous Angkor complex in northwestern Cambodia.
Domestic opponents of Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej have seized on the issue in a bid to bring down his government.