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Prince Sihanouk never turned a blind eye

Prince Sihanouk never turned a blind eye

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Photo by: Courtesy of Documentation Centre of Cambodia

Dear Editor,

I wish to request your well-esteemed daily to kindly correct the quotation lent to me in an article by Mr Cheang Sokha titled “Hun Sen lambasts Lon Nol takeover” (March 19, 2010), in which I would have said in an interview last month that although the Khmer Republic failed, the events of 1970 came about as a result of popular discontent about the Vietnamese communist infiltration of Cambodia to which the Prince had turned a blind eye.”

I did say that by 1968, the communist global and regional powers had changed strategy and started in a turning point of the Vietnam War to intensify their pressures on Cambodia, with the attempt of urban guerrilla and territorial occupation by the Vietminh and Vietcong of Dam Dak (Ratanakkiri).

Prince Sihanouk, Head of State, never turned a blind eye on these exactions, since he denounced them at several occasions, during the Cabinet meeting, in press conferences with maps of Vietminh settlements and encroachment from the Royal Armed Forces as well as photographs of captured Vietminh soldiers, as reported by my father, then vice president of the Council of Ministers, presided over by Samdech Penn Nouth, in his memoirs.

This explained also our resumption of the relationship with the United States to counterbalance this interference and violations of our territorial integrity by the Vietnamese communists. From that time already responding to the Prince’s denunciation of these Vietnamese exactions, many young people spontaneously offered their service for the defence of the country.

It was unfortunate that facing this mortal danger, we Cambodians did not stay united and instead split, and that the United States instead of helping us keep our independence, which Prince Sihanouk had strived all his life for with his balancing policy that the Western journalists coined “a tightrope policy”, and indirectly and unwittingly collaborated with the communists they were fighting to make an onslaught on Cambodia, by supporting the 1970 coup, as they did in the early sixties.

For Mr Sebastian Strangio’s interview, I also added that the timing was ill-chosen at this juncture of the Vietnam War, because the US mind was set for the withdrawal of their troops and presence from Indochina, at the end of the sixties.

Please kindly publish this clarification for the accuracy of the historical facts and for the benefit of your readers.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

Son Soubert
Member, Constitutional Council

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO?Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

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