US Delegates Promised to Improve Ties between Cambodia and the United States – Friday, 8.1.2010

Posted on 9 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Phnom Penh: An assistant of Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, Mr. Eang Sophalet, said after a discussion between the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, and the US congressmen, Mr. Eni Faleomavaega, Mr. Mike Honda, and Mr. Joseph Cao, in the morning of 7 January 2010 at the National Assembly – that it is the second time that Mr. Faleomavaega visits the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the three congressmen welcomed the 7 January memorial day of Cambodia, the second birthday of the Cambodian people.

“Mr. Eni Faleomavaega said that he is glad to express his appreciation towards all Cambodian citizens. He will take the recommendations of the Prime Minister to encourage better cooperation and improved ties between Cambodia and the United States. As the chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, he hopes that he can act as a bridge to enhance better relations between the two countries in order to contribute to make the world a better place for all people.

“As for Mr. Joseph Cao, he told Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen that after returning, he will make efforts to contribute to assist Cambodia in child health care and education problems.

“In response,the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude towards the US congress delegates led by Mr. Eni, and he expressed his great appreciation regarding Cambodia-US relations. Samdech Dekchor said that this is the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Cambodia and the United States, and a significant achievement is that recently, for the first time, the United States built an embassy complex in Cambodia, which shows how the relations have developed.

“Samdech Dekchor expressed his gratitude towards the United States for the cooperation with and assistance to Cambodia in HIV/AIDS education and children’s health care, for which American volunteers come to Cambodia, a bridge to strengthen the relations between both countries.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6852, 8.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 8 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #382, 8.1.2010

  • The Number of People Infected with A/H1N1 in Cambodia Increased to 550
  • US Congressman [Eni Faleomavaega] Will Appeal [to the US congress] for Cambodia’s Debt to Be Canceled

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2144, 7.1.2010

  • The Public Criticized the Forestry Administration of Only Being Able to Seize Motor Saws in the City, but Not Those in the Forest [about 700 motor saws were confiscated in Phnom Penh]
  • The Khmer King Built Houses for 80 Poor Families in Anlong K’gan [Phnom Penh]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #713, 8.1.2010

  • Prisoners in Cambodia [at all provinces and cities] Suffer from Lack of Water, and They Receive Insufficient Nutrition [reported a UN delegation after visiting detention centers for a week, according to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, ratified by Cambodia in 2007]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #574-575, 7-8.1.2010

  • [Opposition politician] Sam Rainsy Will Definitely Not Write a Letter of Apology to [Prime Minister] Hun Sen to Ask to Drop the Accusations [regarding the removal of border markers]
  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Prey Veng] Chea Pouch Denied that there Was an Appeal for Political Coordination between Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen [over the border accusations]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6852, 8.1.2010

  • US Delegates Promised to Improve Ties between Cambodia and the United States
  • [Two] 5-Tonne Trucks Crashed into Each Other, Killing Three from One Truck and Injuring Two Seriously from the Other [Siem Reap]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #84-85, 7-8.1.2010

  • The Ruling Party [the Cambodian People’s Party] Rejects Attempts to Use the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Undermine Peace in Cambodia [Cambodian and international co-prosecutors of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal have conflicting opinions about summoning more suspects, while investigating judges have disagreements about summoning high ranking officials of the government to testify]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5093-5094, 7-8.1.2010

  • US Congress Member [Eni Faleomavaega] Agreed that 7 January is an Important Memorial Day
  • More Than 10,000 People Attended 7 January Meeting at the Headquarters of the Cambodian People’s Party
  • The Sam Rainsy Party Sent [3,000] Thumbprints to the King and to Samdech Euv [the Father King – asking to intervene to drop the accusation against Mr. Sam Rainsy over the removal of border markers]

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1851, 8-10.1.2010

  • US Congressmen [who are visiting Cambodia] Asked the Opposition Parties to Unite

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National Holiday – Victory over Genocide Day – Thursday, 7.1.2010

Posted on 8 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

As every year, the memory of the 7 January 1979 shows that there is deep disagreement what this day in Cambodian history means. Of course any memorial day may have different aspects. But different statements in Cambodia show that there are fundamental differences in describing what has happened, related to this day.

What follows are some brief reports, reflecting different voices.

The speeches of the representatives of the government and of the Cambodian People’s Party see the significance of the day in what the official name of this holiday says: a commemoration of the victory over genocide. The end of the Khmer Rouge regime brought also an end to the tremendous loss of life and the suffering of the people of a degree never experienced in any other country. It initiated also a decade of Vietnamese presence – a decade of reconstruction after the devastation suffered under the Khmer Rouge regime.

The former King Sihanouk had expressed the meaning of this day some years ago in a very concrete way: Without this event, innumerable more Cambodian people would have lost their lives. This is a factual description.

Other voices state interpretations – this day initiated a Vietnamese presence for a decade. This is also a fact.

What is surprising is not that there are different opinions. Surprising is, when only one of the two elements is mentioned.

“French Indochina turned to Vietnamese Indochina.”

“Tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of the Vietnam invasion on Cambodia which consequently ruled over our country for 10 years and still continues its influence until today.” – There is not one word in this statement which would indicate that this day brought an end to a sequence of murderous years.

An anonymous blogger on the Internet wrote, in response to another voice: “You are stupid to say that: 7 January was an invasion not liberation.”

As the former president of the Federal Republic of Germany said 40 years after the defeat of the German state by the allied forces at the end of the Second World War in Europe, initiating the division of Germany and its occupation under military rule of forces from France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America: “First of all, this was a day of liberation.”

It is also surprising that in the different reflections on the 7 January 1979 we did not find any reference to the fact that the Khmer Rouge regime received considerable support from the People’s Republic of China.

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Three US Parliamentarians Come to Cambodia to Talk about Debt and Commercial Ties – Wednesday, 6.1.2010

Posted on 6 January 2010. Filed under: Week 646 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 646

“Three US congressmen plan to visit Cambodia for three days, according to a Voice of America (VOA) broadcast in the morning of 5 January 2010, based on information from the Khmer ambassador to the United States, Mr. Hem Heng.

“But officials of the US Embassy in Phnom Penh told Khmer Machas Srok in the evening of 5 January 2010 that the three US congressmen will arrive in Cambodian in the evening of 5 January 2010, landing in Siem Reap first, before coming to Phnom Penh.

“The visit to Cambodia is to discuss about the debt of more than US$300 million that Cambodia owes, and about commercial ties between the two countries.

“Mr. Hem Heng added, ‘The intention of the visit to Cambodia is first, they want to discuss with Khmer leaders to solve the debt owed by Cambodia to the United States since the Lon Nol regime; second, the delegation wants to discuss about clearing unexploded bombs that America dropped during the war in the 1970ies; and third, the delegation aims to promote and to encourage trade between Cambodia and the United States.’

“The visit to Cambodia is led by Democrat Mr. Eni Faleomavaega, who represents the territory of American Samoa and is chairperson of the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment; Mr. Mike Honda, Democrat of California; and, Mr. Joseph Cao, Republican of Virginia [born in Vietnam and immigrated to the USA as a child].

“The three delegates will meet with high-ranking officials of Cambodia, including Prime Minister Hun Sen. However, two officials who work for two of the US congressmen who plan to visit Cambodia asked not to comment to VOA about the visit due to safety concerns.

“When the visit will have been finished in three days, the three US delegates will hold a joint press conference about their visits to Cambodia, Laos, Japan, and Vietnam.

“Previously, Cambodia had asked the United States to cancel the debt of more than US$300 million that Cambodia owes since the Khmer Republic led by Field Marshal Lon Nol during the 1970ies, and recently Cambodia asked the USA not to charge taxes on products exported from Cambodia to the United States. But there is no response from the United States.

“Officials of the two countries used to say that the canceling of the debt depends on decisions by the parliaments of both countries.

“It should be noted that the deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State immediately released a statement condemning Cambodia for deporting Uighurs to the Chinese authorities, when China had granted aid and loans of about US$1.2 billion to Cambodia during a visit by the Chinese vice president.

“The statement of condemnation was issued on 21 December 2009, after the Khmer authorities deported the Uighurs back to China, following a request from the long-term communist government.

“The spokesperson of the US Department of State, Mr. Gordon Duguid, said in a statement on 19 December 2009 that the Cambodian government, following a Chinese request, forced 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China, in what is seen as a violation of international obligations by Cambodia. The United States is concerned about the wellbeing of those people who sought asylum and protection under international law. The United States is concerned also because the Cambodian government decided to deport those people without properly checking their refugee status, and without the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees participation.

“The United States strongly opposed the deportation of the asylum seekers by Cambodia without listening to the people’s reasons. This will affect the relations between Cambodia and the United States and the reputation of Cambodia on the international arena.

“As those people were already sent back to China, the US government asks China to conform to international standards, to ensure transparency according to the law, and to properly treat those people. The US government continues to call on all relevant parties to pay attention on the importance of the respect for human rights and of the obligations under international law.

“Anyway, officials of the Cambodian government immediately issued a statement to calm the US Department of State, saying that Cambodia will continue to maintain good relations with the United States. It is likely that this problem led the three US congressmen to pay a visit to Cambodia.” Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #573, 6.1.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #380, 6.1.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Warned the Groups of People That Plan to Distribute Leaflets against the 7 January Celebrations [commemorating when the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown in 1979]
  • The USA Scrapped the Regulation Which Prohibited People with AIDS to Enter the USA

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2143, 6.1.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor: The Removal of Temporary Border Markers [by opposition party president, Mr. Sam Rainsy] Reached a Point That Cannot Be Tolerated

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #573, 6.1.2010

  • Three US Parliamentarians Come to Cambodia to Talk about Debt and Commercial Ties

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6850, 6.1.2010

  • Nearly 300,000 Copied Porn [and illegally copied music] Discs Were Crushed to Destroy Them [Phnom Penh]
  • [Opposition Party president] Sam Rainsy Admitted from Abroad that He Removed the Temporary Border Markers [in Svay Rieng]
  • A Small Bus Overtook a Camry but Hit a Motorbike on National Road 11, Killing Two People and Injuring One Seriously [Prey Veng]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #83, 6.1.2010

  • The Prime Minister Rejected the Possibility to Tolerate the Opposition Party President’s Action over the Border Markers Case
  • Famous Hol and Phamuong [Khmer traditional] Hand-Woven Cloth Made from Silk on Koh Dach Island in Kandal Is Finished [80% of the producers in this community stopped their traditional silk weaving, as the price of silk imported from China and from Vietnam more than doubled within one year from previously US$10 per kilogram to US$40 to US$80 at present]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5092, 6.1.2010

  • [Four] Men [an Indonesian, a Malaysian, and Two Khmers] Illegally Detained Others in a Casino, Interrogated and Hit Them – Finally They Were All Arrested to Be Sent to Court [Svay Rieng]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva’s Government Approved More Than US$7 Million for Buying Materials to Handle Demonstrations by the Red-Shirt Group [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra – the materials include plastic bullets, smoke grenades, shields, electric batons, and bullet proof vests]

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National Holiday – Wednesday, 7.1.2009

Posted on 8 January 2009. Filed under: Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

40 Years and 30 Years Later

Forty years after the defeat of the German state – the German Reich – at the end of the Second World War, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Richard von Weizsäcker, spoke on the anniversary, 8 May 1985. Many commentators said that this was probably the most important speech ever given in Germany on the topic.

Thirty years after the defeat of the Cambodian state – the Democratic Kampuchea, the Khmer Rouge – the President of the Cambodian People’s Party spoke on the anniversary, 7 January 2009.

In both countries there had been great disagreement over how to regard their historic dates, since it marked both the end of a terrible period of history and the beginning of a period in which other countries wielded power over key aspects of life and government.

We document here some abbreviated sections of statements about these two historic events.

From the 1985 speech of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany in the German Parliament:

It does not help to move into the future if we or others are too reluctant to hurt feelings. We need, and we have the self-confidence, to face the historical truth, without hiding the facts and without favoritism.

The day of 8 May is for us, above all, a day of remembrance of what people had to suffer. It is at the same time a day challenging us to openly think about the course of our history. The more honestly we are prepared to really acknowledge what happened, the more we may be open to face the consequences responsibly.

All who lived through the day of 8 May 1945 consciously have personal memories and thus quite different experiences. Some returned home, others became homeless.

It was difficult to orient oneself immediately and clearly. There was uncertainty in the country. The military defeat was complete. Our fate was in the hands of the enemies. The past had been terrible, also for many of those enemies. Wouldn’t they make us pay for what we had done to them?

Most Germans had believed that they were fighting and suffering for a good cause for their own country. And now it turned out: all that was not only futile and useless, but it had served the inhuman goals of a criminal leadership.

We had to think back to a dark abyss of the past, and to look ahead into an uncertain dark future. But it became clearer, day by day, what we all must say today: The day of 8 May was a day of liberation.
We all have good reasons to recognize the day of 8 May 1945 as the end of a period of German history when we went wrong.

[For the full text of the German original: WEIZSÄCKER-REDE 1985 – “8. Mai war ein Tag der Befreiung” click here.]


From the 2009 speech of the President Cambodian People’s Party during the 7th of January Celebration of the Victory Over Genocide Day

“The victory of 7th January saved the fatherland and the people of Cambodia from the harsh regime of genocide in a timely manner,” and the anniversary marked the end of “the dark chapter of Cambodian history” – he thanked Vietnam for “saving the country from genocide.”

While the former King Sihanouk had initially pleaded Cambodia’s case before the United Nations against the new Cambodian government installed by the Vietnamese in January 1979 after they had dismantled the Khmer Rouge regime, he later evaluated the Vietnamese invasion of 1979 differently and positively [quoting a translation from French]:

History
The January 7, 1979
By N. Sihanouk

Beijing, December 18, 2006

Some very senior (CPP) Officials recalled (with good reason) that “without the January 7, 1979,” I would – with (the future King) N. Sihamoni, Samdech N. Monique Sihanouk – be dead in the hands of Pol Potists (Khmer Rouge).

This is strictly conformed to the historical truth.

In this regards, I pay tribute and I express my deepest gratitude to H.E. Samdech Heng Samrin, H.E. Samdech Chea Sim, H.E. Samdech Hun Sen, to the Heng Samrin Khmer Armed Forces (Front), and to the DRV [Democratic Republic of Vietnam] and its armed forces.
It is certain that, without them, Pol Pot, and following my death, Pol Pot’s Angkar of the “Democratic Kampuchea” would have been still leading an ultra-infernal Cambodia.

(Signed) Norodom Sihanouk

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