35 years have passed but Cambodians never forget the crime of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime led by Pol Pot. During its 4-year rule, the Khmer Rouge killed close to 2 million people, one fourth of Cambodia’s population. They practiced a brutal genocidal policy to eliminate all social facilities in Cambodia and breached Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty.
Victory of a just course
Vietnam sent soldiers to Cambodia to stop the Khmer Rouge’s breach in the southwestern border area and to save Cambodians from genocide. Vietnam’s decision was made in response to an appeal by Cambodia’s United Front for National Salvation. The January 7 victory was the result of a righteous career and the special friendship between Vietnam and Cambodia.
Assisting a friend in reconstruction
After defeating the Khmer Rouge regime, from 1979 to 1989 Vietnam sent tens of thousands of experts to help Cambodia’s rebuilding effort at the request of Cambodia’s United Front for National Salvation and its interim government. Vietnam also helped Cambodia reduce hunger, prevent diseases and rebuild the government apparatus. Associate Professor Nguyen Manh Ha of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration said: “Cambodia started from scratch because its social infrastructure has been devastated and its economy seriously damaged. For 10 years, Vietnamese volunteer soldiers helped the Cambodian government and army stabilize social life and quell subversive acts by Pol Pot forces.”
The last 35 years have seen a miraculous change in Cambodia, which from a land of violence, division, and war has become a country of peace, stability, unity, democracy, and development.
The special friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia have developed steadily. Khun Chhy, former Cambodian Minister of Transport and advisor to Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister, said: “We will never forget Vietnam’s great support and sentiment. Cambodians consider this sentiment eternal and it is our responsibility to remember it from one generation to another. Although Cambodia was liberated 35 years ago, Vietnam has been supporting us ever since. Our comprehensive cooperation has expanded and I hope it will continue to develop in all fields.”
Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hunsen saidduring a visit to Vietnam that Vietnam helped Cambodia in its most difficult period and not many other countries could do so. He stressed that the people of Cambodia will never forget the significant assistance of the Vietnamese experts and volunteer soldiers and their meaningful international mission in Cambodia. No other country could offer such wholehearted assistance. His words are evidence of the truth that regardless of global fluctuations, the friendship between Vietnam and Cambodia will remain unchanged.