The Hanoitimes - The Singaporean Prime Minister`s statement fails to reflect historical facts, said the Vietnamese spokeswoman.
Hanoi regrets that Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made an unrealistic statement on the role of Vietnam during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late on June 4.
The statement has failed to reflect historical facts, causing negative impacts on the public, the spokeswoman said in response to a question after Lee’s statement delivered at the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue and posted on Facebook blamed Vietnam for “invasion” and “occupation” in Cambodia in the Pol Pot-led Khmer Rouge regime.
Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: Tuoi Tre
"Vietnam’s contributions to and sacrifice for the ending of Khmer Rouge’s genocide crimes have been widely recognized," Hang said.
On November 16, 2018, the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) convicted Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime of genocide. The conviction has objectively reflected the historical truth and the enforcement of justice, Hang noted.
In terms of ASEAN, Vietnam has been making efforts to contribute to the unification, solidarity and prosperity of the bloc, the spokeswoman said, adding that ASEAN’s achievements have made by joint efforts of all members and the mutual respect which each of them is aware of.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks at the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China on April 27, 2019. Photo: Xinhua/Pang Xinglei
Voices from insiders
In response to the statement, Cambodia’s Defense Minister General Tea Banh and lawmaker of the Cambodia People’s Party Hun Many have lashed out at Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for accusing the Vietnamese troops of invading Cambodia to topple the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.
Speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday night, Gen. Banh said that he has asked Singaporean Minister for Defense Ng Eng Hen to inform Lee to make correction on his remark, the Khmer Times reported.
“We cannot accept what he said. We have already clarified that Vietnamese volunteer troops came to liberate our people,” Gen Banh said. “We still consider that they came to save our people’s lives. It has been enormously meaningful for us.”
Defence Minister General Tea Banh, speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday night. Photo: Khmer Times
“By the same token, the world should not forget how much Cambodians suffered then. Within the time span of 3 years 8 months and 20 days and because the world turned the blind eyes on us “Khmer” that close to 3 million innocent victims died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge,” he said.
“While everyone was playing politics, Cambodians prayed that it did not matter who and from where the help would come from, but we wanted to be saved from the genocidal regime of the Khmer Rouge. The help came in form of the CPP with the assistance of our neighboring country, Vietnam,” Many said.
The Khmer Times quoted Phnom Penh-based Cambodian political analyst and commentator Leap Chanthavy as saying that Cambodian people can never forget their difficult times and they know clearly who were our friends in need.
Leap Chanthavy said Lee Hsien Loong denied the legitimacy of the new Cambodian government that saved lives of the remaining four million Cambodians with support from the Vietnamese forces.