Witness Talks about Armed Conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam – Tuesday, 26.5.2009

Posted on 27 May 2009. Filed under: Week 614 |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 614

“Phnom Penh: Mr. Nayan Chanda, a former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review based in Hong Kong and also a collector of information during the war in Vietnam before and after the Khmer Rouge regime, appeared to testify in the case to hear Mr. Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda is the second foreign witness after Mr. Craig Etcheson to testify in the Khmer Rouge court on the implementation of the policy of the Cambodian Communist Party at the S-21 Center, and of armed conflicts during the Khmer Rouge regime.

“In front of the Khmer Rouge criminal court on Monday, 25 May 2009, Mr. Nayan Chanda – 63, Indian – mentioned the book titled Brother Enemy – the War after the War. The book was written by Mr. Nayan Chanda during the 1980s detailing the relations between Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge, when Vietnam became the enemy of the Khmer Rouge. [Brother Enemy – the War after the War. Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1986, 480 pages.]


“Mr. Nayan Chanda, now Senior Research Scholar of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, in the United States, appeared at the Khmer Rouge criminal court to explain the armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese forces to the chamber.

“Sitting in front of the judges in the hearing room, Mr. Nayan Chanda said that Vietnamese troops and Khmer Rouge troops closely cooperated and had good relations after the coup to oust Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk in 1970. Vietnam helped the Khmer Rouge to overthrow the Lon Nol regime in 1975. But the good relations between Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge began to break down when the Khmer Rouge came to power on 17 April 1975.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda, who had interviewed high ranking leaders of the Khmer Rouge and of Vietnam, went on to say that armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese troops became serious in late 1977 and early 1978. The first armed clash occurred along the border where troops of the Khmer Rouge and of Vietnam attacked each other.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda noted that in May 1977, the Khmer Rouge decided to carry the fight into Vietnam rather than to withstand the Vietnamese troops’ attacks. Vietnam was considered by the Khmer Rouge as having the intention to invade Cambodia to enlarge its country, according to an Indochina Federation policy. At that time, Khmer Rouge leaders ordered the eastern region to carry the fight into Vietnam, and Mr. Hun Sen (the current Cambodian prime minister), was at that time a member of the Khmer Rouge troops, and he was assigned to be responsible for that plan. However, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen later told Mr. Steve Heder (a foreign journalist) that he (Samdech Hun Sen) did not follow his superiors’ order to attack Vietnam, and he then escaped into the forest.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda continued to say that at different border regions, the Khmer Rouge launched attacks on some Vietnamese villages along the Cambodian border.

“The diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Vietnam became weaker and were later cut off, in late 1977, after Vietnam opened a large-scale attack on Cambodia in October 1977. Vietnam attacked Cambodia along the border by air, and sent 50 tanks more than 10 km into Cambodian territory in Svay Rieng in January 1978 to attack Khmer Rouge troops that were supported by China.

“The armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam was mentioned in an US report, and it was published by many internationally well-known newspapers.

“Regarding the armed conflict between the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese troops during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, Mr. Kaing Kek Eav, alias Duch, who was sitting and listening to the witness, said that the conflict resulted from a dispute between the Cambodian Communist Party and the Vietnamese Communist Party, but he has little knowledge about that.

“But Duch claimed, ‘Regarding armed conflicts between the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese at that time, I knew only two places. One place was the Plae Santouch region at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border at the far end of Mondolkiri, and the other place was at the sea border.’

“Anyway, Kaing Kek Eav claimed confidently that Pol Pot struggled to protect the country and was clever in defending its integrity, and he was able to maintain the territory of Cambodia. Pol Pot did not allow the Indochina plan to be put into practice on Cambodian territory. But in 1976, the Vietnamese [communist party] president Le Duan [Lê Duẩn] still declared that Vietnam is the father of an Indochina Federation. The history shows that the Indochina Federation policy of Vietnam intended that the neighboring countries, especially Cambodia, should be under the control of Vietnam.

“Mr. Nayan Chanda, a former editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, will appear again at the chamber hearing of Duch on Tuesday, 26 May 2009, to finish testifying about the facts of the armed conflict between Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese troops.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4903, 26.5.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #194, 26.5.2009

  • A Japanese Couple Is Sent to Hospital for Alleged A/H1N1 infection [after checking, they were confirmed not to be with this infection – Siem Reap]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1953, 26.5.2009

  • In the Morning, a Man Raped and Killed a [10-year-old] Girl, and in the Evening He Raped Her [7-year-old] Sister [the perpetrator is arrested – Kompong Chhnang]
  • Experts [officials of the Apsara Authority and historian Michael Trane] Said that There Is No Drilling to Set Up Electricity [at Angkor Wat, and they claimed that the dropped down stone pieces are decayed stone]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6659, 26.5.2009

  • An Australian Tourist Who Escaped to Cambodia Is Arrested Following the Request of the [Australian] Federal Police [for child pornography]
  • Khmer-Thai-Laotian and Burmese Journalists to Talk about the Publication of Information [in Bangkok]
  • North Korea Has Conducted a Second [successful] Nuclear Weapons Test Surprisingly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3767, 26.5.2009

  • Witness of Duch’s Case [Mr. Nayan Chanda, Indian] Claimed [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Was a Member of the Khmer Rouge [who joined actively to fight against Vietnam, but then escaped to Vietnam only to avoid being arrested by the Khmer Rouge – the spokesperson of the government, Mr. Khieu Kanharith, does not comment, saying that it is an affair at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal]
  • Yuon [Vietnamese] Fishing Boats Come to Do Fishing in the Khmer Sea Territory in Kampot Every Day, because They Are Permitted by the Fishery Administration Police

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4903, 26.5.2009

  • Witness Talks about Armed Conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam
  • Samdech Euv [the King Father] Blesses the Cambodian People’s Party to Win the Elections Forever
  • Cambodian Economy in 2009 Encounters Never-Faced Rain Storm [the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Cham Prasidh, said that the collapse of big enterprises in other parts of the world is threatening the export of Cambodia, and lessens the investment speed remarkably]
  • Korean President [Lee Myung-Bak] Encourages Cooperation to Produce Films between Cambodia and Korea

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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One Response to “Witness Talks about Armed Conflict between Cambodia and Vietnam – Tuesday, 26.5.2009”

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Brother Enemy is a really good book, as is Justin Corfield’s short history of the Cambodian Non-Communist Resistance, during and after Khmer Rouge rule.

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