Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday blasted the United States for rallying behind the removal of Prince Norodom Sihanouk in 1970 and accused it of supporting Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
Speaking at a university graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, Mr Hun Sen said the US backed the removal of the Prince and the establishment of Marshal Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic until its fall in 1975. He then accused the US of supporting the Khmer Rouge regime in the United Nations until 1991.
Mr Hun Sen praised Prince Sihanouk’s regime from 1955 to 1970 as a peaceful period. He said the civil war that followed the Prince’s removal was because of foreign interference.
“Even if there were problems, our country had peace,” Mr Hun Sen said, referring to the US’ bombing campaign during the Vietnam War. “But after that coup on March 18, 1970, our country fell into war and everything was destroyed.”
He said that the US government should be held accountable for this.
“Our country received many injustices. Do you [US] express your regret in supporting the ousting of Prince Norodom Sihanouk?” Mr Hun Sen said. “I’ve never heard of it. You tend to be a democratic country, but you supported the overthrow of a legitimate head of state and a respectful leader from power.”
“You made our country fall into a civil war. They treated us badly. Do you ever regret the things you did? The wrongful support for Lon Nol’s regime?” he said. “You claim to be a democracy, but supported a military coup.”
Mr Hun Sen then proceeded to accusing the US of supporting Pol Pot’s regime at the UN and leveling sanctions against the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea government after the fall of the Khmer Rouge.
“Have you expressed regret over your wrongful support of Pol Pot?” he said. “You supported Pol Pot to control the Cambodian seat at the United Nations from 1979 to 1991. Then you level political and economic sanctions against us.”
Mr Hun Sen noted that today the US still intends to overthrow a Cambodian government through a colour revolution.
“Now you want to threaten us because of some opposition members who were convicted because of their activities that were against the law,” he said, referring to the CNRP. “We won’t accept this.”
US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes declined to comment.
However, in an earlier statement the embassy said the US was not involved in a coup in Cambodia.
“There is no substantiated evidence that the US was involved in a coup which brought Lon Nol to power,” it said.