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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Were Chinese envoys meeting Ta Mok secretly?

Were Chinese envoys meeting Ta Mok secretly?

C HINESE Government assurances that they ceased all official contact with the KR after

1994 have been thrown into doubt by a photograph published in last week's Post.

The photo was supplied by a KR defector who said it was taken by a KR General shortly

before Ta Mok was arrested.

The photograph was captioned as Ta Mok and Thai business associates but the Post

has since learnt two of the people pictured are Chinese diplomats.

Diplomatic sources have identified the two as His Excellency Fu Xuezhang, Ambassador

Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Kingdom

of Thailand (presentation of credentials: 24 September 1997), standing to Ta Mok's

right and Madame Chang who was seen recently at the Phnom Penh embassy.

Fu previously served as Ambassador to Cambodia 1991-1994 and as Counselor to the

Chinese Embassy in Bangkok (1983-85).

He is one of the Cambodia experts at the Chinese Foreign Ministry and is fluent in

Khmer.

The source said the woman in the photo is Madame Chang, former Second Secretary to

the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok and a Cambodian expert.

There has been a muted official response from the Chinese to the photo and the suggestion

that they had been maintaining contacts with KR despite their public denials.

The Chinese Embassies in Bangkok and Phnom Penh have adopted a neither confirm nor

deny attitude to the identity of the people in the picture.

A spokesman for the embassy in Phnom Penh repeated the same comment to all questions

relating to the picture.

"The Chinese Government would like to emphasize that since 1994 all official

contact with the Khmer Rouge has been outlawed and therefore no contact between Chinese

Government personnel and the KR has occurred since that time," he said.

"Regarding the photo of Ta Mok we do not know anything about it or the people

in it."

When asked if the picture was too unclear for embassy staff to identify the people

in it the spokesman repeated the above comment verbatim, twice.

When asked if the embassy in Bangkok might be able to assist the spokesman repeated

the above comment again. At the end of the interview he asked where the Post had

obtained the picture.

The Chinese Embassy in Bangkok was briefer in its response. A spokesman there said

that the photo was not clear enough for them to identify any of the people in it

and refused further comment.

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