Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is campaigning ahead of national elections on Sunday, and opponents who lag far behind in opinion polls have attacked his handling of the row, as well as his lauding of the temple's new status.
A more proximate cause, though, lies in Bangkok. Here, opponents of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, who have led months of street protests and lawsuits against his government, have used the issue to accuse it of surrendering sovereignty.
"It doesn't seem too complicated to fix [the dispute]. But Thai politics [are] so polarized that it's being used to accuse the government of selling out the country. Sentiment is high on the Thai side," says Gothom Arya, a peace advocate and chairman of the National Economics and Social Advisory Council, a government think-tank.
At a summit in Singapore, foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which groups Thailand, Cambodia, and eight others in the region, called for "utmost restraint" on the border. Cambodia said Sunday that it had written to the UN Security Council about the alleged Thai incursions, but insisted it wasn't trying to involve the UN in bilateral talks, the Associated Press reported.