Khmer Krom Protesters Turn to UN, Assembly for Help

Nationalists protesting a Vietnamese diplomat’s interpretation of the handover of the area of Kampuchea Krom to Vietnam continued demonstrating in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, delivering petitions to the U.N. and National Assembly.

During a radio interview in June, a spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy disputed claims that Kampuchea Krom belonged to Cambodia before France ceded it to Vietnam in 1949. Protesters want Vietnam to apologize and about 100 of them delivered petitions to the U.N. and National Assembly on Tuesday, urging them to support Cambodia’s historic claims to the area.

At the National Assembly, about a dozen of the protest’s leaders were invited inside, where they said they met with Assembly spokesman Chheang Vun. Khun Khemrin, a protest organizer, said they asked Mr. Vun to lobby for an apology from the embassy, but to no avail.

“Mr. Chheang Vun told us that he has no ability to summon Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong to be questioned and that if the Yuon officials were asked to apologize in public, it would damage the long-term relationship between Khmer and Yuon,” he said, using a term for the Vietnamese considered derogatory by some.

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