Geopolitics right for future Cambodia in between China and Vietnam

Posted by: | Posted on: August 16, 2014

Reading two articles and listening four hours Khmer Rouge history documentary these two days, I am keen to expose some inner preconception about best choice for Cambodian leadership in handling with foreign policy especially between China and Vietnam at the present.

CPP Comrades

Courtesy: Facebook

First article is the exclusive interview of the Khmer Time Magazine with German historian Bernd Schaefer who is expert on communist intelligence networks through his work on piling of reported documents archived on the file named Stasi Dossier while East Germany was close ally with Vietnam and Soviet during the cold war. Schaefer ever described many current Cambodian government leaders are former Vietnamese revolutionists and the report described characteristic of Heng Samrin and Chea Sim as true peasant-like leaders. The split of Sino-Soviet led to waging war at the border in 1969 triggered irk for Vietnam who has closely incorporated with China to topple the America. Thus, the geopolitics right in that time was Vietnam who suddenly decisively opened attack against Khmer Rouge and drove them away from Cambodia by installing their own government. Vietnam’s decision was noted that while Chinese leadership was having internal uncertainty regarding cultural revolution as well as visible weakness displayed by the Khmer Rouge’s internal dividing leadership, the attack happened spontaneously. However, the aggression happened during the early month of January was not paid attention by the western world as they were busy in celebrating new year eve and Christmas. To maintain its face, China opened attack Vietnam on the borderline 30 days later on February 17, 1979.

According to Schaefer, the history seems repeat itself as China and Vietnam is clumsy at each other at the present because of Spratley Island scheme. Between China and Vietnam, Cambodia must ensure that it chooses the geopolitics right.

Stasi files on Cambodia’s top officials – Southeast Asia Globe _ Southeast Asia Globe Magazine

KhmerTimes _ News Portal Cambodia _ _ Print Preview _ Why Did Vietnam Overthrow the Khmer Rouge in 1978_


vn burning china flag

Courtesy: Facebook

vn burning china flag1

Courtesy: Facebook


Second, screening the 583 pages titled “Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome in Cambodia“, his view is in parallel with Schaefer’s in term of geopolitics right. Impressively, during the fierce fighting between Thailand and Vietnam on an unsettled agreement to divide Cambodia land for their occupation, Thailand who was more powerful sent a legitimate Khmer King Ang Duong to the Cambodian throne in the expect to enlarge influence over Vietnam. However, the geopolitics changed as Western colonists were looking for new territories in this region including strong subconsciousness of King Ang Duong to free his land from both hegemony, his sovereign was admired in an attempt to welcome new comer like France to safeguard his territory.

Vickery 2010 on “Kicking Vietnam Syndrome in Cambodia”


Third, spending more than four hours while doing some chores and listening the youtube documentary broadcasted by RFA, it is understandable the remarkable demise of the Khmer kingdom under ultra nationalism, paranoid and xenophobic leadership of Pol Pot and his team. Comparing to Vietnam who experienced narrow space to move around after they defeated the America, but China shied away from them while Russia fought with both China and America, the prospect to maintain peace and unity of Northern and Southern Vietnam was so dim. So the decision to invade Cambodia is a one stone two birds action: good time to get more aids from Russia and waging a war than can unify the dividing fractions of Vietnam. More than this, King Ang Duong had no choice at all in using his own leverage to face with both Thailand and Vietnam. He was raised and educated in Bangkok since childhood. His returning back home was seen so fragile and disorganized. But opportunity arose as he worked hard to strengthen the country unity and secretly contact France if this colonist interested to be his nation guardian.

But Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot leadership and his team had everything in hand during their power. Pol Pot can easily court China and US to fight against Vietnam or achieve their ambition to reclaim Khmer Krom territory back. But this group is too bossy, disorganized, ultra nationalistic, ignorant, unproductive, xenophobic, and paranoid. Their management begun with displacing people from their own shelter in order to prey enemy or those suspected. The weakest point that Pol Pot lost their geopolitics right opportunity is the destroying of his own manpower. Leadership that take their own citizens as hostage and enemy is the worst management in the history of human kind.

A Social fabric

Courtesy: Facebook

So right now, after the agreement on 22 July 2014 between CNRP and CPP, the twilight for Cambodia strength on political management is the jewel to choose geopolitics right. While opposition has promised to perform as “Loyal Opposition”, the government must pursue political pragmatism and integrity to conduct in-dept reform. “National solidarity” and “Cambodian people first service” will enable “extra strength” to paddle this Cambodia ship in a right direction in between China and Vietnam.               

Letter to Ambassador William E. Todd

Posted by: | Posted on: August 12, 2014

Dear Ambassador William;

Ambassador William E. ToddIt is my great privilege to write to you regarding current political development of Cambodia. Your recent article published in The Cambodia Herald intrigued my thought immensely on new adopted leadership of all Khmer leaders. Those leadership changes are surely impacted by post-baby boomers young Cambodian generation, savvy users of technology and increasing population of pragmatism.

Hence, part of the US-based funds, I would like to propose to spend more on Leadership Skills or Capacity-Building Programs towards all Cambodian front line activists particularly opposition youths, government young public servants, Buddhist monks, land rights activists, educators and environmentalists.

Your three proposed areas for reform are essentially urgent to tackle human resource deficit in Cambodia, but I would like to propose some scenarios that can handle with ongoing mis-using of political power or abusing of power. This has been impregnably showcased in Cambodian society and it has deprived public lives for centuries. Court system is built by unjust and non-durable procedures because of mis-using of power. Corruption has been so pervasive and it has posited a challenge to tame this social ill because of mis-using of power. Those mis-using power have occurred because of non-neutral police officers and arms forces etc. Ability to solve this issue is a great step to create power balance for fair playing field between the government party and the opposition party as well, in order to capitalize the best interests for Cambodians.

Thank you very much for your kind attention with my thought.

Sophan Seng
Leadership Skills

The enemy of pragmatism from observing Cambodia politics

Posted by: | Posted on: August 7, 2014

Listening to Nuon Chea’s speech in this video clip on facebook, he is critically out of date. His word cannot buy out the thought of Cambodian youth who are increasing to represent 70% of total 15 millions Cambodian population. Those are post-baby boomer generation, they are very pragmatic. They are not easily bought out by this low and xenophobic propaganda although they have perceived about this issue. The entrenched ideology could not be an excuse for such failed leadership of irresponsible crime against humanity. Contrarily, the mass killing and forceful displacement to allow local authority to punish and kills their own citizens is seen as the hidden scenario or modern political scientists called it “conspiracy”.

Achar Mean background

Achar Mien’s camouflage as Buddhist monk and story of many Vietnamese revolutionists who hide themselves in the saffron robes of Buddhism. Courtesy of Facebook by Mr. Jame

Nuon Chea’s speech showed an entrenched cowardice leadership. It will be disengaged by a new perspective at least they perceive those actions as a vague extremism and conspiracy agenda. Talking about this conspiracy theory, world renown undercover agents have been hiding under the skin of culture and tradition. We have learnt about the Christian missionaries who were working to draw map and make plan for powerful colonists to step in. During the post-cold war and the spread of communism ideology in Indochina, many Vietnamese worked on their way to hide their identity through wearing monk saffron robes. Their intelligence through becoming a monk is not only helping them to record adequate information, also helped them with free shelter and daily meal. Ho Chi Minh is known for his monkhood in Eastern Thailand of Ubon Rajathani. Achar Mien aka (fake name) Son Ngoc Minh ordained and enjoyed full mission as a Vietnamese revolutionist during his monkhood. Many Vietnamese revolutionists were believed to ordain in Cambodia soil and other places without knowing who they are. To be a Buddhist monk, they receive huge legitimate power and safest haven. This question should be a great topic for research for young Cambodian graduates.

There is a dangerous loophole for Cambodia as a nation on anticipating the root authenticity of each citizen because of untraceable last name.  Many countries have adopted permanent last name to track the family root and authenticate family members in the purpose to secure unfavorable hidden ill-will citizens as well as for medication tracking remedy. Cambodian government should consider on this scenario as well.

While the world has been carefully appreciate the convict of Nuon Chean and Khiev Somphan for the guilty they both have done during managing top down bureaucrats as crime against humanity to lifetime imprisonment, the Cambodian people are knowing very little about this. Through the report of Radio French Internation (RFI), the people who are bused to sit watching and listening the trial judgment seems don’t know who is Nuon Chea and who is Khiev Somphan. They said that during that terrible day, they know and remember the chief of commune, or chief of village, or chief of district, who took away their children and siblings to the killing machine.

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Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Crimes Against Humanity

Posted by: | Posted on: August 6, 2014

Noun Chea and Khiev Somphan Noun Chea and Khiev Somphan 1

7 August 2014

Press Release


Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Crimes Against Humanity


Today, the Trial Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) found Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan guilty of crimes against humanity committed between 17 April 1975 and December 1977 and sentenced them to life imprisonment.


Nuon Chea was the Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) and a member of both the CPK Central and Standing Committees. Nuon Chea, with Pol Pot, exercised the ultimate decision-making power of the Party. Nuon Chea officially exercised the role of Acting Prime Minister of DK on several occasions from September 1976 up until 1977 when Pol Pot resumed his duties. Due to his seniority within the CPK leadership, Nuon Chea enjoyed oversight of all Party activities extending beyond the roles and responsibilities formally entrusted to him during the DK period. Khieu Samphan became a candidate member of the CPK Central Committee in 1971 and a full-rights member in 1976. He was one of two members of Office 870 which oversaw the implementation of the decisions of the CPK Standing Committee. As a member of Office 870 he was responsible for commerce and played an important role in matters of economics and foreign trade in the Democratic Kampuchea (DK). In April 1976, Khieu Samphan was appointed President of the State Presidium. While this was a largely symbolic role with no executive power, he had the confidence and trust of the other members of the Party Centre and he participated in meetings of the Central and Standing Committees.


The Trial Chamber found that, together with members of the Standing and Central Committees, government ministers and Zone secretaries, both Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan participated in a joint criminal enterprise to achieve the common purpose of implementing a rapid socialist revolution through a ‘great leap forward’ by whatever means necessary. The Chamber found that this common purpose was implemented through, amongst other means, policies to forcibly displace people from cities and towns and between rural areas. As a result, during the first phase of the movement of the population at least two million people were forcibly transferred from Phnom Penh in April 1975 by Khmer Rouge soldiers under false pretexts and threats, often at gunpoint, with almost no prior warning and in terrifying and violent circumstances. At the time of its expulsion, the population of Phnom Penh was severely weakened by the experience of a long siege characterised by food shortages. In this weakened condition, the population was forced to march to rural areas during the hottest time of the year and without adequate food, water, medical care, accommodation or transportation. Without exception, the entire population of Phnom Penh was evacuated, including monks, the old and the young, the sick and injured from the city’s hospitals, pregnant women and those who had recently given birth. There were numerous instances of Khmer Rouge soldiers shooting and killing civilians during the course of the evacuation, while many others died of exhaustion, malnutrition or disease.


During the second phase of the movement of the population, between September 1975 and December 1977, at least 330,000 to 430,000 people were forcibly displaced from various locations throughout Cambodia. Most people were ordered to leave their locations and transferred under armed guard. Those who refused transfer or attempted escape were arrested, detained or transferred in a further round of movements.      People were transported by different means, including truck, boat, ox cart and on foot. People were constantly monitored, had no water and insufficient food, and were not allowed to carry any belongings. Those transported by truck were guarded by armed Khmer Rouge soldiers, who shot at those who tried to escape. Due to exhaustion, starvation or illness, some people died.


The Trial Chamber also found that Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan implemented the common purpose through a policy to target former Khmer Republic officials. As a result of this policy at least 250 Lon Nol officials who had been transported from Pursat to Tuol Po Chrey were executed immediately after 17 April 1975.


Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were, through their participation in the joint criminal enterprise, found to have committed the crimes against humanity of murder, political persecution and other inhumane acts (comprising forced transfers and attacks against human dignity) during movement of population (phase one); political persecution and other inhumane acts (comprising forced transfers and attacks against human dignity) during movement of population (phase two); and murder and extermination through executions of Khmer Republic officials at Tuol Po Chrey. Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan were also found to have planned, instigated and aided and abetted the crimes of extermination (during movement of population (phases one and two)), other inhumane acts (comprising enforced disappearances) (during movement of population (phase two)) and political persecution (at Tuol Po Chrey). Additionally, Nuon Chea was found to have ordered these crimes.

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Personal life and Cambodia politics through story telling

Posted by: | Posted on: August 6, 2014

Mu SochuaReading The Advisor Cambodia today on “Mu Sochua: Protesting with poise”, it has triggered sadness, empathy, leadership and realization. Passing through the upheaval political landscape of Cambodia, the story telling of Mu Sochua has shaped new perspectives for Cambodians. The war and national division during these decades have absolutely embedded within all Cambodian memory regardless of farmers, labors, officials and politicians. Her story has encouraged all youths to continue their struggle for social change, justice and freedom.

All words and phrases mentioned in the interview, are thought-provoking. From her breastfeeding childhood to the latest injustice Prey Sor jailing, has simultaneously mixed the feeling of sadness and enjoyment. Life is like that, sometime we cried because of separation and pain, but sometime we cried because we are over-joyful. Sometime life is shaped by our own action (Kamma), but sometime life is shaped by circumstance or environment. However, the impact on life and its future shape wholly depends on our own inner strength and willpower. This reflects invaluable LEADERSHIP style we all should renew!

I would like invite all of you to read this outstanding life’s story telling: