The following are extracts from Nate Thayer's June 11 interview with King
Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing.
On the Khmer Rouge
bomb to kill the Khmer rouge is the economic and social development, that is
what they should do but since they took power they have thought mainly of going
to war with the Khmer Rouge. I don't criticize them. I stress I support them
because I am the King. They elected me as King and I accepted to be their King.
They are my government. The government of His Majesty. How can I be against
them? Some of them said confidentially to other people that Sihanouk is pro-
Khmer Rouge. I am not pro- Khmer Rouge. You know they have killed five children
of mine, 14 grandchildren of mine. And so many innocent people among the little
people. I called those people my children, my grandchildren. I loved them as my
true children. How can I give my pardon to the Khmer Rouge? But we have to be
realistic....we have to accept to have talks with the Khmer Rouge since we have
no means to wipe them out. That is all. It is just realism and patriotism....We
must make a distinction between two things: one the realism we should have for
the present time and the future about the problem of peace and national
reconciliation and on the other hand we cannot forget the crimes committed
between April 1975 and the end of 1978 by Pol Pot and his
We have to put an end to corruption. I will tell all those personalities 'you
are very rich. I will not touch you. You will keep all your wealth. There will
be no inquiries at all.' You know what they fear the most from Sihanouk is
inquiry and criticism.. I will tell them that these rich men can stay in
Cambodia. They do not need to run away....and as far as the many generals I will
keep them, but I will tell them, 'please, you can stay as generals with all your
beautiful uniforms and stars, but please, allow me to have besides that another
On the RCAF and foreign policy
I will not need new
weaponry because we will remake my policy as in the 50s and 60s. We can have a
small and very professional and disciplined army.
But we do not need really an army because we will make a policy of peace.
We will use only peaceful means vis-a-vis Thailand and vis-a-vis Vietnam. I
will not use my army against anybody and since the Khmer Rouge will be in the
government there will be no civil war.
On conditions for returning to
I want my power from the Parliament. I will maintain the
liberty of the press. The freedom of the press. All the liberties for my people!
for the press! for the journalists! they can criticize me! But I will not let
them have a pretext to condemn me as a dictator or a putchist. I will not be a
putchist. Because I will accept power on the condition that the Parliament will
give it to me and I will return to Cambodia only if Mr. Hun Sen's party joins