King Denies Knowing Saloth Sar Was KR Leader Pol Pot

In his 14th written critique of the book “Warrior Prince,” King Norodom Sihanouk further de­nies having conspired with the Khmer Rouge in the early 1970s to solidify his own power.

The book, a biography of Prince Norodom Ranariddh by Bangkok-based journalist Harish Mehta, writes, “Sihanouk exhorted Khmer Rouge leaders Pol Pot and Khieu Samphan to overthrow the Lon Nol regime, and reinstate him as the rightful ruler.”

The King denied having had any known contact with Pol Pot during the Lon Nol regime. It was Lon Nol who led the coup that deposed the King in 1970.

“Before our meeting on the evening of January 5, 1979, just two days before the entry of Vietnamese troops into Phnom Penh, I had no relations whatsoever with ‘Pol Pot,’” the critique states.

The King writes that he did meet a man named Saloth Sar in 1973, who was part of his Khmer Rouge escort in a tour of the “liberated zone” the King took before returning to exile in China. But he said he had no idea until 1979 that Saloth Sar was in fact Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader.

“The Khmer Rouges themselves took the initiative to rally the United National Front of Kampuchea, of which I was president,” the King wrote. “There was no need to exhort them to fight the Putschists of March 18, 1970: They themselves announced to our people that they would combat the putschists until the end, until the irreversible downfall of the Lon Nol regime. And under no circumstances did I demand to be be reinstalled into my post as chief of state.”

 

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