PHNOM PENH, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday issued a statement to reject Thailand's assertion that the country has planted landmines along the border with Thailand.
The statement was made after Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi, as reported in the Bangkok Post online on Friday, alleged Cambodia of deliberately placing landmines along the Thai-Cambodian border and a Thai soldier was badly injured by one of the devices on Wednesday.
The statement said "It is extremely sad and disturbing that such a baseless accusation is made against Cambodia, when mine explosion is still a common occurrence, even in places inhabited or cultivated for years after the war ended."
It said that it is known around the world that former battlegrounds in Cambodia, especially along the Cambodia-Thailand border, are still heavily contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance buried during the almost three decades of war by the Democratic Kampuchea regime, known as Khmer Rouge.
The area near the Preah Vihear temple where a mine was set off by a Thai solder was previously a battle zone and a sanctuary of the Khmer Rouge forces who must have laid many landmines to protect their position during the war.
The Khmer Rouge forces also took temporary refuge in Thai territory along the border during the war time, it said.
"Cambodia hopes that Thailand would refrain from making further unsubstantiated allegation which could harm the improving ties between the two nations."
The Bangkok Post reported on Friday that Sergeant Chatree Kaewprasan of Thailand's 23rd Infantry Division was on a foot patrol near the 4.6 sq km disputed area near Preah Vihear temple on Wednesday night when he stepped on a landmine, which blew off his right leg.