Khmer Krom organizations in Cambodia are condemning the Vietnamese government for circulating information that they say distorts the history of the two countries.
In a statement prepared for release today, members of the 11 NGOs of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Community said the Vietnamese government has been circulating incorrect information on historical claims to the Mekong delta area.
Last week the umbrella organization’s director, Thach Setha, said he had translated a confidential Vietnamese government report that said Khmer Krom leaders worldwide were being targeted for spying and suppression.
Thach Setha’s translated version of the report also contains a history of the Kampuchea Krom region, with instructions that it be distributed to correct information about the legitimacy of Vietnam’s possession of the land.
Vietnamese Press Attache Nguyen Than Duc denied any knowledge of the report, and said his government has no policy of targeting Khmer Krom leaders.
Thach Setha sent a copy of the translated report to King Norodom Sihanouk, because one of the documents’ purported claims was that the King had signed a treaty approving Vietnam’s right to govern the disputed land.
A letter of reply from the King did not mention the report by name, but said that “in every epoch Vietnam, Thailand and Laos have never granted favors to Cambodia or Khmer Kings.”
The King donated $2,000 to the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Coordinating Committee to organize a gathering last week to protest their inability to travel freely between Vietnam and Cambodia.
In June, the King donated a similar amount to fund the the group’s annual observance of the day in 1949 that France gave up its colonial interests in Indochina and ceded Kampuchea Krom to Vietnam. Thach Setha surprised some other Kampuchea Krom activists at last week’s protest when he did not demand that the Vietnamese relinquish the Kampuchea Krom region. In a later interview he changed his stance and said the Khmer Krom were the true owners of the land.