In a Facebook post on Saturday, the 43rd anniversary of the special day in Cambodian history, Prime Minister Hun Sen reflected on his decision to leave Cambodia for Vietnam on June 20, 1977.
Hun Sen wrote “June 20 is the 43rd anniversary (June 20, 1977 – June 20, 2020) of my painful decision to risk my life to liberate the Cambodian people from Pol Pot’s genocide regime.
“Even though today we are living in harmony, I will never forget the millions of tears when I stepped out of my motherland. It was especially hard to leave my wife while she was pregnant.
“I didn’t have a choice because we could not ask for sympathy from Pol Pot. This dangerous and heartbreaking choice was made to bring us happiness and development.”
Minister of Defence Tea Banh marked the occasion on Saturday in Tonlung commune, Memot district, Tbong Khmum province, where Hun Sen crossed the border in 1977.
Banh acknowledged the four comrades who joined the prime minister as well. They were Nuch Thorng, Nhek Huon, San Sanh and Va Por Ean.
Together, the group marched into Vietnam to seek assistance in the fight against the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot.
Banh recommended all ministries, institutions, royal gendarmeries and municipal and provincial administrations disseminate this history of Hun Sen and his comrades.
He said Hun Sen will permit continued research regarding the Khmer Rouge’s history and the country’s salvation. Banh said historical documents should be combined, authenticated and disseminated.
Banh said some historical sources regarding the matter are biased and miss certain elements.
He also created a working group to look after historical sites associated with Hun Sen’s departure. He requested Vietnam to assist in building a commemorative memorial on the historic road which Hun Sen travelled to Vietnam.
Banh said Cambodia and Vietnam have always helped each other in emergencies and their friendship cannot break despite the attempts of some people.
He said: “All descendants and the next generation should know that even during hard times, Cambodia and Vietnam stayed united. Because our history is together, so helping each other is a must.”
Banh said he would like to hold a big event for the 45th anniversary of the historical day on June 20, 2022.
Prey Veng Provincial Documentation Centre director Pheng Pongrasy said the “Koh Thmor Documentation Centre” was created to display historical documents about Hun Sen’s exodus and triumphant return to Cambodia. The exhibit features 107 photos, 36 drawings and six maps.