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Cambodian PM calls on west to learn from past and avoid a ‘third mistake’

BY BEN SOKHEAN
PRIME Minister Hun Sen used the “Win-Win Monument” to blast Western governments he accused of making policy mistakes damaging to Cambodia.
He called on them to “learn from the lessons of the past” and avoid a “third mistake” – the implementation of economic sanctions.
Speaking at the event on the capital’s Chroy Changvar peninsula, Hun Sen appealed to both the “greatest power country” and democratic nations to avoid making such mistakes in the future.
The prime minister did not mention any state by name, referring only to the “greatest power country” and democratic nations that supported Lon Nol’s 1970 coup that removed the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk as Cambodian head of state and installed the US-backed Khmer Republic of 1970 to 1975.
“Please don’t [hurt] our people. Don’t cause war by using so-called democracy and human rights [as a] trick. Even democratic countries made the mistake of supporting the Lon Nol military coup.”
“You should learn from the lessons of the past. Some countries should learn from past lessons – don’t make a third mistake,” Hun Sen said.
He said the first mistake made was the backing of the Lon Nol coup, while the second was supporting the Khmer Rouge taking Cambodia’s seat at the UN.
It has been alleged the US supported the ultra-Maoist regime even after its overthrow in 1979.
“The first mistake is, as a democratic country, you supported a military coup. Was this democracy or militarism? The second mistake was to support Pol Pot, who killed [millions of] people with no regard for human rights,” Hun Sen said, without naming the US. “You supported [the Khmer Rouge] keeping [Cambodia’s] seat at the UN for 12 years.”
After the Hanoi-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea and Vietnamese troops captured Phnom Penh on January 7, 1979, the Khmer Rouge fled west and re-established their forces.
The UN voted in favour of giving the anti-Vietnam Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK), which was dominated by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s seat at its General Assembly.
From 1979 to 1991, it recognised them as the only legitimate representative of Cambodia.
“So I hope that those countries would not make their third mistake of putting sanctions against the ones who are working hard to ensure peace, the happiness [of] the people and development,” Hun Sen said.
Meanwhile, Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman Sok Eysan wrote on Telegram on Sunday to outline the mistakes of certain unnamed countries regarding Cambodia.
The first, he said, was supporting the coup that toppled King Sihanouk and then backing the military government of its leader Marshal Lon Nol from 1970 to 1975.
The second was voting for the Khmer Rouge-dominated CGDK to take the Kingdom’s seat at the UN – a move that brought further disaster on the Cambodian people – and imposing sanctions on those who defeated the Pol Pot regime, he said.
Eysan went on to accuse certain members of the international community of supporting the Cambodian political opposition.
“At the moment, some countries refuse to give up this method [of the 1970s and ‘80s], and so they support the opposition in order to destroy peace and democracy in Cambodia.”
“They deeply hate Cambodian people because of global ideological competition, and they use democracy and human rights as their shield,” he said.
Eysan again took to Telegram to say that having experienced such bitter history for decades, Cambodian people as a consequence hate war and are determined to avoid the other disasters they have endured.
“Therefore, the CPP’s leaders always seek the ways leading to peace so that Cambodian people can live happily and peacefully with their families.”
“Through sacrifice, the CPP has found peace for people. Through such [strategies], as the national unification and ‘Win-Win’ policies, it brought complete peace to Cambodia for the first time in the hundreds of years since the Khmer Empire era,” he said.
“The Cambodian people welcome and would like to celebrate the great successes of the CPP since the beginning. The CPP always thinks about the interests and welfare of the people and solves the problems facing them.
“Cambodian people would like to make a record of the achievements of the CPP in their hearts, and are determined to support and vote for the CPP unswervingly and forever,” he said.
(The Phnom Penh Post)

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