Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday announced he will go to Hanoi later this month for a trilateral meeting with his counterparts in Vietnam and Laos—and to pay his respects to long-dead compatriots.
Speaking at a bridge dedication in Svay Rieng province broadcast on Apsara radio, the prime minister did not say what was on the agenda for the summit, or when it would take place, but said he planned visit the graves of 49 Cambodians who died helping him fight the Khmer Rouge.
“I will pay respect to the souls of 49 Cambodian combatants who were buried in Vietnamese soil, where I secretly formed troops,” he said.
The prime minister said he hopes his former comrades-in-arms are at peace watching Cambodia develop into a land free from strife.
“I will let them know that we have continued their cause, freed the lives of the people from death, and now Cambodia completely enjoys peace and happiness,” Hun Sen said.
Monday was Victory Day Over Genocide, a holiday that celebrates the anniversary of the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979. Hun Sen, Senate President Chea Sim and other high-ranking CPP officials drove the Khmer Rouge out of power 23 years ago with the help of the Vietnamese.
Some Cambodians criticize the annual holiday, arguing the Vietnamese were occupiers and not liberators, but such criticisms are traitorous, Hun Sen said.
“Anyone who opposes Jan 7 is in favor of Pol Pot,” he said.