Vietnam: The view from Cambodia, National, Phnom Penh Post
Towards the end of the Cold War, Vietnam's relationships with Cambodia did not differ substantially from their historic patterns. Contemporary. Vietnam-Cambodia relations have a unique character heavily influenced by the war with the US and the experience that was gained shaping a. Cambodia–Vietnam relations take place in the form of bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The Vietnamese differ from the Khmer in mode of dress, in kinship organization, and in many other ways -- for example the Vietnamese are Mahayana Buddhists. Cambodia's relations with Vietnam have been affected by longstanding and deep-seated ethnic and cultural differtll1J: The Vietnamese are of Sino-Malay origin and are indebted to China for their ancient culture, whereas the Cambodians are Mon-Khmer and have a cultural tradition heavily influenced by India and Theravada Buddhism.
The two peoples fought for control of the Mekong Delta from the fifteenth century until the late nineteenth century, when the French assumed control of the area. Severance of diplomatic relations with South Vietnam in resulted from several causes.
The Prince accused the South Vietnamese Government of mistreating the more thanethnic Khmer who resided in southern South Vietnam. Prince Sihanouk asserted that there had been border penetrations by South Vietnamese military units, and he alleged that South Vietnamese Embassy personnel in Phnom Penh were providing financial assistance to antigovernment groups.
Vietnam's forgotten Cambodian war - BBC News
The Prince constantly reiterated his belief in his "policy of the future," which assumed the continued dotllinance of Communist China in Southeast Asian affairs and a Vietnam under eventual Communist control.
In Cambodia formally granted de jure recognition to North Vietnam, and the two countries exchanged ambassadors. In the mid's relations with Communist North Vietnam had been characterized more by friendly gestures than by substantive acts. North Vietnam repeatedly expressed peaceful intentions toward Cambodia; formal greetings were sent on special occasions; and sports teams were exchanged. The communist victory in Vietnam in was accompanied by similar communist successes in Laos and Cambodia.
The impression of the noncommunist world at the time was that the three Indochinese communist parties, having seized control in their respective countries, would logically work together, through the fraternal bond of a single ideology, to achieve common objectives. What appeared to be a surprising deterioration in relations, however, was actually the resurfacing of historical conflict that ideological commonality could not override.
The victories of the Vietnamese communists and the Cambodian communist Khmer Rouge in did not bring peace. Relations between the two parties had been strained since the close of the First Indochina War.
Cambodia–Vietnam ties turn 50
The Geneva Agreements had failed to secure for the Khmer communists, as part of the first Cambodian national liberation organization, the United Issarak Front, a legitimate place in Cambodian politics. Some Khmer Communist and Issarak leaders subsequently went to Hanoi, but among those who stayed behind, Pol Pot and his faction, who later gained control of the Khmer Kampuchean Communist party, blamed Vietnam for having betrayed this party at Geneva.
Pol Pot never lost his antipathy for Vietnam. Under his leadership, the Khmer Rouge adhered for years to a radical, chauvinistic, and bitterly anti-Vietnamese political line. Skirmishes broke out on the Cambodian-Vietnamese border almost immediately following the communist victories in Saigon and Phnom Penh, and in less than four years Vietnam was again at war, this time with Cambodia.
Instead of fighting directly with one another, China and Vietnam opted to use Cambodia as its ideological battleground.
- Cambodia–Vietnam relations
- Vietnam's forgotten Cambodian war
When tensions between Cambodia and Vietnam broke into the open, the reason was ostensibly Cambodian demands that Hanoi return territory conquered by the Vietnamese centuries earlier. Vietnam's offers to negotiate the territorial issue were rejected, however, because of more urgent Khmer concerns that Hanoi intended to dominate Cambodia by forming an Indochina Federation or "special relationship.
Vietnam offensive forces crossing the Cambodia border in December the took less than a month, to occupy Phnom Penh amd most of the country.
On January 7, Vietnamese and Cambodian soldiers entered Phnom Penh, leading to the eventual "fall" of the four-year, brutal Khmer Rouge regime.
Cambodia–Vietnam relations - Wikipedia
China launched an attack and invaded North Vietnam. January 7 marked the beginning of a decade-long Vietnamese occupation. The Vietnamese forces that invaded Cambodia were, at first, welcomed as liberators who had freed the country from the bloody Pol Pot tyranny.
Yet as it became clear that Hanoi had no intention of allowing the Cambodians to run their own affairs, but instead installed a client regime and began running the country in a neo-colonial manner, popular attitudes shifted. Discontent over political oppression, forced labor, and economic misery, combined with a strong anti-Vietnamese nationalist sentiment, created a resentment that increasingly found expression in a willingness to resist by force of arms.
As Hanoi began to pursue policies perceived as aiming at the Vietnamization of the Khmer people, anti-Vietnamese feelings became the common denominator of resistance efforts - a fact that helps explain the continued viability of the discredited Khmer Rouge. The invasion and the subsequent establishment of a puppet regime in Phnom Penh were costly to Hanoi, further isolating it from the international community. Vietnam's relations with a number of countries and with the United Nations UN deteriorated.
The UN General Assembly refused to recognize the Vietnamese-supported government in Phnom Penh and demanded a total Vietnamese withdrawal followed by internationally supervised free elections. Urged by Thailand's example, they provided support for the anti-Phnom Penh resistance. In FebruaryChina was moved to retaliate against Vietnam across their mutual border.
The ensuing conflict in Cambodia pitted Vietnamese troops, assisted by forces of the new Phnom Penh government--the People's Republic of Kampuchea PRK --against a coalition of communist and noncommunist resistance elements. Of these elements, the government displaced from Phnom Penh by the Vietnamese, Pol Pot's communist Khmer Rouge which had established the government known as Democratic Kampuchea in Cambodia inwas the strongest and most effective military force, mainly because of support from the Chinese.
The extremism and brutality of the Khmer Rouge's brief reign in Phnom Penh, where it may have been responsible for as many as 2 million deaths, made it infamous.
ASEAN's concern that the reputation of the Khmer Rouge would lessen the international appeal of the anti-Vietnamese cause led it to press the Khmer Rouge and noncommunist resistance elements into forming a coalition that would appear to diminish the Khmer Rouge's political role.
Vietnam's occupation army of an estimatedtroops was posted throughout the country from to September The Heng Samrin regime's 30, troops were plagued by poor morale and widespread desertion.
Resistance to Vietnam's occupation was extensive. A remainder of the Khmer Rouge's military forces eluded Vietnamese troops and established themselves in remote regions. The Cambodian government in exile needed the added legitimacy that noncommunist factions and the prestige of Sihanouk's name could contribute.
The Chinese were reluctant to withdraw their support from the Khmer Rouge, which they viewed as the only effective anti-Vietnamese fighting force among the three coalition members. They were persuaded, however, to support the coalition and eventually began supplying arms to Son Sann and Sihanouk as well as Pol Pot.
Despite an extensive record of internal squabbling, the coalition government provided the international community with an acceptable alternative to the Vietnamese-supported Heng Samrin regime in Phnom Penh. From tothe coalition survived annual Vietnamese dry-season campaigns against its base camps along the Thai-Cambodian border, and, by changing its tactics in to emphasize long-term operations deep in the Cambodian interior, increased its military effectiveness.
The mass evictions of Nam and his neighbors have rekindled many of the unpleasant memories of older Vietnamese residents and Cambodian human rights groups privy to earlier campaigns, official and unofficial, to cleanse the Kingdom of its Vietnamese minority. The historical source of hostility between Cambodia and Vietnam, and to a lesser degree Cambodia and Thailand formerly Siamhas been the expansionist geopolitical inclinations of both of Cambodia's larger neighbors; a shared penchant to tame and exploit the fertile, relatively underpopulated soils of their neighbor.
Cambodia's present-day historical perceptions of Vietnam contrasts with its relationship with the Thais.
Thus, despite Cambodia having weathered numerous incursions from the Thais including, among other antagonisms, their annexation of northwestern Cambodian provinces, their invasion of Cambodia in the s, and their support of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge all during the s, it is the "Vietnamese issue" that can bring Cambodian blood to a boil most readily in recent decades.
Past Vietnamese infractions upon Cambodian national sovereignty invoke far darker responses.Ms. Phally Chan talk show about relationship Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
The Vietnamese sought, throughout their period of expansion in the s, to superimpose elements of their own culture on that of the Cambodians. Particularly assailed were the Khmer language and Khmer agricultural techniques, dismissed as "archaic" by Vietnamese administrators. Most cutting of all were Vietnamese attempts to discredit Cambodian forms of spirituality by supplanting Cambodia's Theravada forms of Buddhism with a more-or-less alien Sino-Vietnamese model of Buddhist worship.
Vietnam's undertaking to venture beyond mere subjugation and impose wholesale cultural change on Cambodia established them as "hereditary enemies" in the collective psyche of the Khmer. It is an ill-will that has persisted until the present day. In then-Prince Sihanouk said of the Vietnamese, "Whether he is called Gia Long, Ho Chi Minh, or Ngo Dinh Diem, no Annamite [Vietnamese] will sleep peacefully until he has succeeded in pushing Cambodia toward annihilation, having made us first go through the stages of slavery.
Following the decline of the Angkorian empire Cambodia had artfully managed to avoid being absorbed and "vassalized" by its neighbors, firstly by seeking patronage from the Thais as a bulwark against Vietnamese encroachment, thereafter by sidling up to the Vietnamese in order to extinguish any aspirations the Thais might have had. Cambodia's ancien regime knew well the fear with which Vietnam held Thailand, and of the contempt the Thais had for Vietnam in return.
The area was gradually peopled by the Vietnamese, inevitably falling under Vietnamese administration. It was during this period, immediately following the accession to power of Emperor Gia Long inthat Vietnam became unified. With that unity arrived strength and the potential for national aggrandizement.
This, despite the Cambodian King Chan br functioning as a protege of the Thai court, and the existence of a Bangkok-appointed first minister as Cambodia's regent. The tributary gift system would, after abouttip the balance of power in Cambodia away from the Thais towards the Vietnamese, a political oscillation which, ironically, assisted Chan in reestablishing himself on the throne following an abortive coup by his brothers.
The Vietnamese promptly demanded copious supplies of tribute and labor from Cambodia, the latter most likely inciting anti-Vietnamese uprisings in when five thousand Khmers were seconded to work on the Vinh Te Canal. Thereupon was set the antecedent for future Cambodian revolts against the Vietnamese, the embers of a perpetual conflict that would flicker and flame at various intervals throughout the following two centuries. From the period of Vietnamese colonization in the s, right through to Vietnam's liberation of Cambodia from Khmer Rouge oppression inCambodian attitudes to their eastern neighbor have been mixed at best.
In their most virulent form, Vietnam was a nation to be viewed with trepidation and disfavor, its intentions doubted, its sincerity questioned.
At times when anti-Vietnamese passions have exploded, Khmers have slaughtered innocent Vietnamese by the thousands, as they did in after the Lon Nol coup d'etat when bodies of victims floated down the Mekong for days.
Even in this decade, the public consciousness has been repeatedly peppered by the wanton massacre of ethnic Vietnamese by Khmer Rouge guerillas.
Cambodian conceptions of the Vietnamese have been wrapped around fables depicting their foe as a cruel, barbarous race. One story Yuon dam te ongactually taught to school kids in the early s during the Lon Nol regime and generally known by most Khmers, depicts Vietnamese foot-soldiers using the heads of Khmer prisoners as a tripod for a boiling pot. The story has it that a certain nineteenth century Vietnamese emperor, upon apprehending a band of Khmers, buried three of them neck-high in the ground and used their heads as a cooking platform for a large brazier.
As the emperor set about boiling water in the pot, a senior offsider is said to have stood by ordering the agonized prisoners not to "spill the Master's tea. It strikes at the heart of two unshakable Khmer values; the sacredness of the head in Buddhist lore, and absolute reverence for the Monarchy - challenged in the story by the Vietnamese high official's contempt for Cambodian "subjects".