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Cambodian Prime Minister says PM Lee’s 31 May statement is an insult to those who liberated Cambodia from genocidal regime

Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr Hun Sen took to his Facebook page on Friday to remark that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s comment made on 31 May is a reflection of Singapore government’s support of the Khmer Rouge regime and is also an insult to those who liberated Cambodia from genocidal regime.

This is the latest in the aftermath from PM’s comment about Vietnam invading Cambodia that saw the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime which has stirred discontent from both Vietnam and Cambodia.

Last Friday (31 May), while sending condolences to Thailand on the death of former Thai PM General Prem Tinsulanonda, PM Lee wrote on his Facebook page, “Thailand was on the front line, facing Vietnamese forces across its borders with Cambodia. [Then] General Prem was resolute in not accepting this.” And added, “This prevented the military invasion and regime change from being legitimized. It protected the security of other Southeast Asia(n) countries, and decisively shape(d) the course of the region.”

In the English translation of his Facebook post text, Mr Hun Sen wrote that he “deeply regret” learning about PM Lee’s Facebook post.

Mr Hun Sen went on to state that PM Lee’s statement reflects Singapore’s position then in support of the genocidal regime and the wish for its return to Cambodia.

“Singapore was the host of the tripartite meeting that led to the formation of the coalition government of the Democratic Kampuchea, which had prolonged the war and the suffering of Cambodian people for another 10 years. It’s an act against the survival of the Cambodian people.”

“His statement is also an insult to the sacrifice of the Vietnamese military volunteers who helped to liberate Cambodia from the genocidal regime. His statement reveals to the Singaporean people and the world that leader of Singapore had indeed contributed to the massacre of Cambodian people.” wrote Mr Hun Sen.

Mr Hun Sen ended his post by asking PM Lee if he considers the trial of Khmer Rouge leaders legitimate.

Yesterday, Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Ket Sophann was reported saying that his ministry is aware of PM Lee’s comment and that it will soon speak with Singaporean embassy officials.

“We know about this issue,” Mr Sophann said. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have a talk with the Singaporean embassy in Cambodia.

Mr Hun Sen first came to power with the Khmer Rouge regime and served as a Battalion Commander in the Eastern Region of Democratic Kampuchea. In 1977, in a growing rift with Pol Pot, who demanded increasingly self-destructive attacks on Vietnamese border villages, Hun Sen fled with other eastern zone leaders into Vietnam, escaping fierce internal purges.

Mr Hun Sen became one of the leaders of the rebel army and government that the Vietnamese government sponsored when they prepared to invade Cambodia. When the Khmer Rouge regime was defeated, Mr Hun Sen was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Vietnamese-installed People’s Republic of Kampuchea/State of Cambodia (PRK/SOC) in 1979. As the de facto leader of Cambodia, in 1985, he was elected as Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister, following the death of Chan Sy.

The genocide carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime under the leadership of Pol Pot, resulted in the deaths of between 1.671 and 1.871 million people from 1975 to 1979, or 21 to 24 percent of Cambodia’s 1975 population.