F uncinpec is keen on establishing ties with the Communist Party of Vietnam,
according to Prince Norodom Sirivudh, who said it would help ease tensions
between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Prince Sirivudh - president of the
Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace and also Secretary-General of the
Royalist Funcinpec party - last month visited Hanoi at the invitation of
Vietnam's Institute of International Relations.
Prince Sirivudh said he
had received a warm welcome from Communist Party of Vietnam officials during his
"I think it is very important that Funcinpec has had the first
informal contact with the leaders of Communist Party [of Vietnam]," said Prince
"Funcinpec views that we don't regard Vietnam as our opponent
forever, but our neighbor with close ties. We should have discussion, close ties
so to protect our interests and to resolve a number of remaining issues," he
He said good relations between the two countries was particularly
important as they sought to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Historically, Funcinpec has been an opponent of Vietnam. The
party joined the resistance movement, along with the non-communist KPNLF and
Khmer Rouge, to fight the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia in the
After the 1993 UN-sponsored elections, Funcinpec emerged as the
highest-polling party in the current coalition, which is frequently accused by
the Khmer Rouge of being a puppet of the Vietnamese.
"I'm sorry for the
Khmer Rouge, they can accuse me as they want, but we must speak of good
relations between ruling parties," Prince Sirivudh said of his Vietnam
"As a ruling party, we Funcinpec would like to normalize our
relations with all ruling parties in neighboring countries."
disputes and the presence of ethnic minorities in both countries remain
contentious issues between Cambodia and Vietnam, as does illegal cross-border
Prince Sirivudh said the use of weapons to solve remaining
disputes was not in line with King Norodom Sihanouk's promotion of peaceful
settlements to national and international disputes.
The prince described
his visit to Vietnam as the turning of a new page in the two countries'
relationship, and he praised Vietnam's moves toward a liberal market
Vietnam, which is expected to become an ASEAN member in July,
had initiated a number of economic measures which Cambodia could follow, he
said. For instance, it had established research institutes to promote foreign
investment in the country.
"This is a kind of new idea the [Cambodian
Institute for Cooperation and Peace] would like to recommend to our
government... in terms of attracting investment."