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In relation to that war, the cables give insight into some of the tactics employed by the Vietnamese to topple the Khmer Rouge, including allegedly training up Cambodians to operate as subversives in their homeland. They also reported the Khmer Rouge assertion that the murder of British academic and Khmer Rouge sympathiser Malcolm Caldwell during a trip to Cambodia was perpetrated by infiltrating enemy agents. Elsewhere in the cable, they relayed reports that the killers had been dressed differently from most cadres, and noted that, at the very least, the killing would be great propaganda for the Vietnamese.
“That such an incident took place in their presumably heavily guarded compound in Phnom Penh will be a propaganda coup for the Vietnamese, who have been harping for months on how insecure the Pol Pot government is,” reads a cable from the China US Liason Office to the State Department on December 23, the day of Caldwell’s death.
“[Chinese foreign minister] Huang Hua noted that having defeated the US and acquired large quantities of US arms, the Vietnamese had ‘swollen heads’, and that they have long harbored plans for an Indochinese Federation,” reads a cable from the US Embassy in Malaysia to the State Department on April 27, sent after a meeting with a member of a Swedish government delegation that had just visited China.
Op-Ed: The Phnom Penh Post
The Pol Pot dilemma
A trove of more than 500,000 US diplomatic cables from 1978 released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday includes hundreds that paint a vivid picture of a US administration torn between revulsion at the brutality of Pol Pot’s government and fear of Vietnamese influence should it collapse.
“We believe a national Cambodia must exist even though we believe the Pol Pot regime is the world’s worst violator of human rights,” reads a cable sent by the State Department to six US embassies in Asia on October 11, 1978. “We cannot support [the] Pol Pot government, but an independent Kampuchea must exist.”
Note: this article is distributed by Dr. Naranhkiri Tith. It is important for us to read some academic paper in creating critical thinking about the fact of January 7, 1979.
Motives Behind the Vietnamese Occupation
Cambodia: A Nation in Turmoil; by Marc Leepson,
(Editorial Research Reports: Congressional Quarterly Inc., Washington, D.C. April 5,
Western analysts disagree about the exact reasons behind Vietnam’s occupation of
Cambodia and its goals in that country. But there is near unanimous
agreement in the West that the reasons put forward by Vietnam are, in the
words of former U.S. Representative to the United Nations Jeane J.
Kirkpatrick, “a transparent deception.” 3 Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Van Dong,
in an interview published last year in Newsweek magazine, said his
government “could not stand by in good conscience and watch the Pol Pot
clique butcher millions of innocent Kampucheans in cold blood.”4 The
evidence shows, however, that Vietnam knew of the Khmer Rouge terror for
years prior to the invasion. “Hanoi showed not the slightest concern for the
fate of the Cambodian people while most of the killing was actually going
on,” Morris said. “On the contrary, Vietnamese Communist Party and
government statements were lush in their praise of Pol Pot and his regime.”
Some believe that Vietnam invaded Cambodia because it felt threatened by an
aggressive and unfriendly Khmer Rouge government, which launched raids into
Vietnam late in 1978. “The first thing that drives the Vietnamese is their
own security concerns,” said Linda Hiebert, co-director of the Center for
International Policy’s Indochina Project.6 “They would like to see a very
close relationship between the three countries of Indochina [Cambodia, Laos
and Vietnam! because that will maintain security on many levels – military,
economic, et cetera.” Arnold Isaacs, author of Without Honor: Defeat in
Vietnam and Cambodia (1983), agreed. “What is uppermost in the Vietnamese
minds is their own security,” said Isaacs, who was a war correspondent for
the Baltimore Sun in Indochina in 1972-75 “They feel they should be the
dominant power in the region and … the governments of Laos and Cambodia
should be friendly and not a threat….”
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