I read with disappointment the article under the negative title Foreign minister lashes out at US over Khmer Rouge ‘support’ published in The Phnom Penh Post on January 17, in which the editors reported that:
“In commemoration of January 7, the day in 1979 when Vietnamese-backed forces ousted the Khmer Rouge from the capital, the US Embassy issued a statement to remember ‘the 2 million lives lost during the Khmer Rouge era and the millions more who suffered’.
“In response, Sokhonn called attention to what he described as previous support by the US for the Khmer Rouge, even saying that the US had prevented any mention of genocide during the Paris Peace Accord negotiations in the early 1990s.”
For the sake of truth as well as the Cambodia-US relations, I wish to adjust the wrong perception that arose from the title of the article and from the way the editors reported the senior minister’s remarks as follows:
Senior Minister Prak Sokhonn began his remarks by reading the integral text of the US Embassy statement on the 39th anniversary of the liberation of Cambodia from the notorious Khmer Rouge regime issued on January 7 and expressed his welcome to the US positive position in recognising the historic meaning of 7 January 1979.
The senior minister, in order to emphasise this new position touched on the previous US position towards 7 January 1979. This should not be misinterpreted as the senior minister’s attack in response to US’s postive comment on 7 January 1979.
Undersecretary of state and spokesman
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation