Three Country Boat Race in Southeast Asia

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Cambodia hosted a friendly boat race on Thursday with Vietnam and Thailand in the southwestern province of Koh Kong, to promote good neighborly relations.

Locals consider Koh Kong to be the most beautiful coastal province in the country.

Cambodia and Thailand have vowed to keep peace despite border skirmishes over an 11th century temple.

The temple sits on the edge of a plateau that forms the natural border between the two countries. It has been a source of tension for generations.

But differences were put aside on Thursday as local spectators turned up in force to lend support to the race, cheering loudly with brightly colored pom-poms.

[Chan Dy, Spectator]:
"We are proud that we can organize this event and that foreigners can take part in the competition."

The Cambodian Defense Minister presided over 12-boat race the race and the awards ceremony.

[Tea Banh, Cambodian Defense Minister]:
"The most important part is that our neighboring countries are participating, as well as people from the bordering provinces, so it shows that we have good friendship."

Traditional boat racing is a popular sport in Cambodia dating back to ancient times when the Khmer empire had a powerful marine force.

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