Comments on Vietnam Wrongly Attributed, But the History Is Clear

I wish to inform you that I was very surprised to read in your esteemed newspaper the article in the June 5 issue quoting some remarks supposedly made by me as president of the Human Rights Party concerning the celebration of the 66th anniversary of the loss of Cochinchine that the Khmer call Kampuchea Krom, unilaterally handed over to Vietnamese Emperor Bao Dai in 1949 by French Colonial authorities.

As a matter of fact, I was absent from Cambodia and returned only on June 6. Consequently, it would not have been possible for me to deliver these comments.

I was not aware, as quoted in the article, that “there are 25 Vietnamese associations to protect their national identity.” There may be more. Furthermore, I don’t remember saying that there are Vietnamese officials working at Cambodia’s Defense Ministry who “then go home to visit their country on the weekend.”

But during the Untac presence in Cambodia, it was well known that every ministry in the State of Cambodia was supervised by Vietnamese officers—especially key ministries—without Untac being able to check whether all the Vietnamese military personnel had aleft Cambodia, as claimed in the 1989 so-called troop withdrawal, or whether they remained within the CPP troops.

Is General Chhum Socheat, spokesman for the Defense Ministry, sure that military officials from both sides do not regularly visit each other, especially in the southern part of Vietnam? It is because I am concerned that the Cambodian people would further lose their freedom and independence that I continue to denounce the interference of foreigners in Cambodia.

What was General Socheat doing when—under the leadership of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk—the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, of which I became the vice president, was fighting the occupation of Cambodia until its liberation by the Paris Peace Agreement?

Son Soubert, Phnom Penh

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