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PM Emphasizes the Need for Vietnam’s Help in Overthrowing Khmer Rouge

KOH KONG: During a speech to factory workers on January 8, Prime Minister Hun Manet gave a history lesson on the need for Vietnamese cooperation in the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge more than 40 years ago. The PM explained why the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) relied on Vietnam, and not the United Nations, to end the Khmer Rouge era.

In a meeting with more than 10,000 garment factory workers in Koh Kong Province, the Prime Minister said that in 1978 Cambodia had two options for liberation: one involved waiting for the United Nations to intervene and the other depended on the help of Vietnamese soldiers. He emphasized that a longer wait would have endangered more Cambodian lives.

He noted that the United Nations requires the country concerned to make a direct appeal, which would not have happened while the Khmer Rouge held power.

"Cambodia had no choice. Why? In the West, the UN would not send troops! Due to UN law, an organization cannot send troops into a country without a request from the government of that country. It is illegal for the UN to send troops to that country without a government request. Did the Khmer Rouge write a letter to the UN at that time? No! ” he said.

He added that Cambodians going to Vietnam for help was the most effective means forward for Cambodia at that time. His father, former Prime Minister Hun Sen, was among those who fled to Vietnam during the war to garner support from the Vietnamese.

The Khmer Rouge came to power on April 17, 1975, pursuing a dark, dictatorial communist policy. During the three years, eight months and 20 days of the regime led by Pol Pot, the Cambodian people lost all their rights, were forced into slave labor and lived in fear every day. The Pol Pot regime murdered millions of citizens during that time. His reign of terror ended on January 7, 1979, when the KUFNS, allied with Vietnamese troops, invaded Phnom Penh and overthrew the Khmer Rouge administration, paving the way for peace.

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