Cambodian PM marks anti-K Rouge struggle in Vietnam
HANOI CAMBODIA’S premier praised Vietnam-based resistance to the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s as he unveiled a memorial to the movement in south Vietnam, official media said on Tuesday.
“This is an unforgettable piece of history,” Hun Sen was quoted as saying at the site in Dong Nai province, southern Vietnam the birthplace of efforts by defectors to overthrow a regime blamed for the deaths of up to two million people.
Hun Sen and his Hanoi counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung hailed links between the two nations at the opening of the monument on Monday, the state-run Vietnam News daily reported.
The monument, which shows a Vietnamese soldier holding hands with a Khmer resistance fighter behind a Cambodian woman, was inaugurated just days before the 33rd anniversary of the ouster of the Khmer Rouge by Vietnamese troops on January 7, 1979.
Dung said the victory over the regime was of “momentous significance” and ushered in a new era of co-operation between the neighbours, the newspaper added.
Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge cadre before he fled to Vietnam in 1977 and joined the resistance, became a foreign minister in the new pro-Hanoi government in Phnom Penh.
He has been Cambodia’s prime minister since 1985.
Some Cambodians criticise the January 7 anniversary, saying it represents the start of a decade-long occupation by Vietnam rather than a day of liberation.
Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot died in 1998 without facing justice but the regime’s four most senior surviving members, accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, finally went on trial in Cambodia late last year.