Tag Archives: Ieng Sary

Thoughts on the Death of Mass Murderer Ieng Sary:Cambodian Political Culture and North Korea

14 Mar

Thoughts on the Death of Mass Murderer Ieng Sary: The Khmer Rouge and North Korea

It is the Cambodian Political Culture which Should be Indicted

By Nate Thayer

(c)Nate Thayer. All rights reserved. No republication in whole or part without express written permission from the author

Pol Pot’s brother in law, Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, one of only five people allowed to be charged and put on trial by this modern day version of a Stalinist style political show trial funded and given credibility by the UN, for killing 1.8 million  Cambodians, has died at 87, Cambodia’s UN-backed court announced today.

I am the only one to have interviewed all five of the defendants, all of whom are guilty as sin, so I have a few thoughts on the passing of Mr. Ieng Sary.

That leaves two more octogenarians the Cambodian government and world community are hoping will die soon so this charade of bringing justice to those responsible will never happen.

That should be soon, and the Cambodian government can finally dispense with this political nuisance of having the harsh glare of public scrutiny focused on their ugly and very much alive political culture.

Thirty years after the Khmer Rouge did what they did during their unspeakable three years, eight months and 30 days in power–committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, mass murder, torture and slave labor as official state policy, and, arguably genocide–this is the current state of justice for those millions dead and those, in many ways, who have suffered a worse fate and were unfortunate enough to survive, shattered and traumatized, their entire culture brought to its knees where the ex Khmer Rouge who control the country today demand they remain.

Of the five predetermined and given political permission to be charged as culpable of these crimes, this is the current status ofjustice dispensed: One mid level party technician who carried  out the political orders to execute 16,000 men women and children, after being tortured and interrogated, has been found guilty. One octogenarian woman had charges dismissed as she was determined  to be senile. Two senior officials, both in their 80’s and will die of old age before being found guilty remain on trial after ten years and $300 million dollars paid by the properly organized world to fund this  monument to a mockery of justice run by the United Nations but controlled by ex Khmer Rouge now running the current government.

And Ieng Sary died today. Continue reading

Dying Breath: The inside story of Pol Pot’s last days and the disintegration of the movement he created

28 Sep

Dying Breath

The inside story of Pol Pot’s last days

and the disintegration of the movement he created

The Far Eastern Economic Review

                                                                                   April 30, 1998

By Nate Thayer in Preah Vihear province


As Pol Pot’s body lies bloating 100 metres away in a spartan shack, exhausted Khmer Rouge leaders gather in a jungle-shrouded ammunition depot filled with home-made mines and crude communications equipment. Explosions of heavy artillery and exchanges of automatic-weapons fire echo in the mountains as the Khmer Rouge’s remaining guerrillas hold off government troops.

Ta Mok, the movement’s strongman, vows to fight on, and blames his longtime comrade-in-arms for the Khmer Rouge’s desperate plight. “It is good that Pol Pot is dead. I feel no sorrow,” he says. Then he levels a bizarre accusation against the rabidly nationalistic mass murderer: “Pol Pot was a Vietnamese agent. I have the documents.”


A young Khmer Rouge fighter, his leaders only metres away, leans close to a visiting reporter and whispers in Khmer: “This movement is finished. Can you get me to America?”

Besieged in dense jungles along the Thai border, the remnants of the Khmer Rouge are battling for survival in the wake of three weeks of chaotic defections and the loss of their northern stronghold of Anlong Veng. Having lost faith in the harsh leadership of Ta Mok, several commanders are negotiating to defect to the guerrilla forces loyal to deposed Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh.

Khmer Rouge army commander Ta Mok: The last man standing

Ta Mok’s growing paranoia and isolation were only some of the revelations to come out of an exclusive tour of shrinking Khmer Rouge-held territory north of Anlong Veng the day after Pol Pot’s death. Khmer Rouge cadres and Pol Pot’s wife recounted the last, ignominious days of his life, as he was moved through the jungle to escape advancing troops.

Ta Mok, the one-legged Khmer Rouge army commander and Pol Pot nemesis in interview with author the day Pol Pot died. Artillery rained down on us as mutinying troops advanced and pol Pot’s body lay meters away bloating in the tropical heat

There was no visible evidence that the former Cambodian dictator was murdered. Cadres say he died of a heart attack on the night of April 15. In the days after his death, Khmer Rouge envoys held secret peace talks in Bangkok with Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, and had their first direct contact with U.S. officials in more than two decades. Yet at the same time, Khmer Rouge holdouts were joining up with Ranariddh’s rebel forces, making it likely that the insurgency will continue as Cambodia prepares for crucial elections in July.

The Khmer Rouge weren’t trying to expose their shaky future when they allowed a REVIEW reporter to enter their territory, but to prove to the world that the architect of Cambodia’s killing fields was indeed dead. Leading the way to Pol Pot’s house to display the ultimate proof, a cadre warns against stepping off the path. “Be careful, there are mines everywhere.”

The sickly-sweet stench of death fills the wooden hut. Fourteen hours have passed since Pol Pot’s demise, and his body is decomposing in the tropical heat. His face and fingers are covered with purple blotches.

Khmer Rouge leaders insist that Pol Pot, aged 73, died of natural causes. Already visibly ill and professing to be near death when interviewed by the REVIEW in October, he had been weakened by a shortage of food and the strain of being moved around to escape the government offensive. “Pol Pot died of heart failure,” Ta Mok says. “I did not kill him.”

Nuon Chea, Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, and Defence Minister Son Sen while in power in Phnom Penh after 1975. Ieng Sary broke from the group in 1996 and the other three denounced him as a “Vietnamese agent.” Son Sen was ordered murdered by Pol pot and Nuon Chea in June 1997 and he, his wife and 16 relatives were killed, their bodies run over by trucks after they were shot. Pol Pot was later arrested and Nuon Chea was on the record of accusing him of being a “traitor.” Of the 22 members of the central committee of the Communist party when they took power in 1975 21 had been executed or arrested for being “enemies” by their own comrades by the end, imploding in an orgy of paranoia and vitriol

That night, Ta Mok had wanted to move Pol Pot to another house for security reasons. “He was sitting in his chair waiting for the car to come. But he felt tired. Pol Pot’s wife asked him to take a rest. He lay down in his bed. His wife heard a gasp of air. It was the sound of dying. When she touched him he had passed away already. It was at 10:15 last night.”

There are no signs of foul play, but Pol Pot has a pained expression on his face, as if he did not die peacefully. One eye is shut and the other half open. Cotton balls are stuffed up his nostrils to prevent leakage of body fluids. By his body lie his rattan fan, blue-and-red peasant scarf, bamboo cane and white plastic sandals. His books and other possessions have been confiscated since he was ousted by his comrades in an internal power struggle 10 months earlier. Two vases of purple bougainvillea stand at the head of the bed. Otherwise, the room is empty, save for a small short-wave radio.

Pol Pot listened religiously to Voice of America broadcasts on that radio, but the April 15 news on the Khmer-language service may have been too much to bear. The lead story was the REVIEW’s report that Khmer Rouge leaders–desperate for food, medicine and international support–had decided to turn him over to an international tribunal to face trial for crimes against humanity. “He listened to VOA every night, and VOA on Wednesday reported your story at 8 p.m. that he would be turned over to an international court,” says Gen. Khem Nuon, the Khmer Rouge army chief-of-staff. “We thought the shock of him hearing this on VOA might have killed him.”

Author with Pol Pot’s body less than 8 hours after his death. April 16, 1997, On the side of the mountain outside their besieged jungle headquarters of Anlong Veng, Northern Cambodia

A week earlier, Nuon had said that Pol Pot knew of the decision, but now he says the aging leader had not been fully informed. “We decided clearly to send him” to an international court, says Nuon, “but we only told him that we were in a very difficult situation and perhaps it was better that he go abroad. Tears came to his eyes when I told him that.”

Perched nervously by the deathbed is Pol Pot’s wife, a 40-year-old former ammunition porter for the Khmer Rouge named Muon. Clutching her hand is their 12-year-old daughter, Mul. A peasant woman, Muon says she has never laid eyes on a Westerner before. She corroborates Ta Mok’s account of Pol Pot’s death. “Last night, he said he felt dizzy. I asked him to lie down. I heard him make a noise. When I went to touch him, he had died.”

Pol Pot’s political opposition shown here with the severed head of captured Khmer Rouge soldier. The Cambodian political alternatives are so unimpressive that two decades after pol Pot was driven from power after his policies cause the death of 1.8 million people, his political movement not only remained a formidable force with popular support, but 80% of the armed forces had volunteered to join his ranks after he fled the capitol to wage war from the jungle

Pol Pot married her after his first wife went insane in the 1980s as the Khmer Rouge tried to survive in the jungle after their reign of terror was ended by invading Vietnamese troops. Muon seems oblivious to her husband’s bloodstained past, caught only in the anguish of the present.

“He told me a few weeks ago: ‘My father died at 73. I am 73 now. My time is not far away,'” she says. “It was a way of telling me that he was preparing to die.” Reaching down to caress his face, she bursts into tears. “He was always a good husband. He tried his best to educate the children not to be traitors. Since I married him in 1985, I never saw him do a bad thing.”

Asked about his reputation as a mass-murderer, her lips quiver and she casts a terrified glance at senior Khmer Rouge cadres hovering nearby. “I know nothing about politics,” she says. “It is up to history to judge. That is all I want to say.”

Pol Pot in 1973 in happier times

She has reason to be terrified. “As to what I will do with his family, I haven’t decided,” says Ta Mok. “If I let them go, will they say anything bad about me? Maybe they might be used by Hun Sen,” he says, referring to his nemesis, the Cambodian premier.

Outside the front door is a small vegetable garden tended by Pol Pot’s wife and daughter; next to it, a freshly dug trench where Pol Pot and his family were forced to cower as artillery bombarded the jungle redoubt in recent weeks.

Pol Pot’s last days were spent in flight and fear of capture–a humiliating end for the man who ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. According to his wife and Khmer Rouge leaders, he dyed his hair black on April 10 in a desperate attempt to avoid capture by mutinying Khmer Rouge troops as he fled to the Dongrek mountains north of Anlong Veng. “Pol Pot feared that he could be caught. By dying his hair he was trying to disguise himself. For such a person to do that, it showed real fear in his mind,” says Gen. Nuon.

The guerrillas had been unable to provide their ousted leader with sufficient food since being forced from their headquarters in late March. “For the last few weeks he had diarrhea and we haven’t had much food because of the fighting with the traitors,” recounts Ta Mok.

As Pol Pot fled, the remnants of the movement he created 38 years ago crumbled before his eyes. A few days before his death, he was being driven with his wife and daughter to a new hideout by Gen. Non Nou, his personal guard. From his blue Toyota Land Cruiser, Pol Pot saw Khmer Rouge civilians–cadres say around 30,000–who had been forced from their fields and villages by government troops and Khmer Rouge defectors.

Pol Pot: His last words in public

“When he saw the peasants and our cadres lying by the side of the road with no food or shelter, he broke down into tears,” says Non Nou. His wife echoes the account, and quotes Pol Pot as saying: “My only wish is that Cambodians stay united so that Vietnam will not swallow our country.” Pol Pot never expressed any regrets, she says. “What I would like the world to know was that he was a good man, a patriot, a good father.”

Pol Pot’s first wife, Khieu Ponnary who started showing symptoms of sever mental illness by 1976 and went insane shortly after the Khmer Rouge fled back to jungle in 1979

Pol Pot’s first wife in happier times before she went insane during her husbands reign in power

Asked how she wanted her father remembered, Pol Pot’s only child stands with her head bowed, eyes downcast and filled with tears. “Now my daughter is not able to say anything,” interjects Muon. “I think she will let history judge her father.”

History will have to, because death has deprived the world of the chance to judge the man responsible for the deaths of more than 1 million people.

Although Pol Pot has cheated justice, other leaders of that regime remain at large, including Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, who are sheltering with Ta Mok. Others, such as Keo Pok, Mam Nay and Pol Pot’s former brother-in-law, Ieng Sary, have defected with their troops to the government side since 1996.

Although Pol Pot’s life will stand as the darkest chapter in Cambodian history, his death is likely to be just a historical footnote. What’s more likely to affect Cambodia’s future is the continuing disintegration of the Khmer Rouge. This is prompting desperate attempts by what’s left of the movement to find security.

Counterclockwise from upper left: Nuon Chea, ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, and Ieng Thirith on trial in Phnom Penh for crimes against humanity 2012. Ieng Thirith, Ieng Sary’s wife and the sister of Pol Pot’s first wife (above) has since been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. She was the first Cambodian to receive a degree in English literature and her sister, Khieu Ponnary was the first Cambodian to receive a degree in French literature

The day after Pol Pot died, senior Khmer Rouge officials traveled to Bangkok, where they held secret negotiations with Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh. There, they offered for the first time to cooperate with elements of the Cambodian government. “Yes, we are prepared to negotiate. We are in the process,” says Ta Mok. “But I am not going to be a running dog of Vietnam like Ieng Sary. In a nutshell, we want to dissolve the Hun Sen government and establish a national government that includes all national forces.”

Interviewed on April 18, one of the chief Khmer Rouge negotiators, Cor Bun Heng, said of the unprecedented meeting: “It was a good beginning and cordial. But these things take time.” Added the other senior negotiator, Gen. Nuon: “We believe that the only way out is national reconciliation between all the parties. We know that the entire Cambodian population wants peace.”

What’s more, Nuon and Cor Bun Heng said they met secretly on April 17 with American officials in Bangkok, and laid out their demands for a political settlement. It was the first official, direct contact between the United States and the Khmer Rouge for at least two decades. U.S. officials wouldn’t comment

In the jungles, Ta Mok knows that his capture and trial is sought by the international community. He wants to use Pol Pot’s death to wipe the slate clean. “The world community should stop talking about this now that Pol Pot is dead. It was all Pol Pot. He annihilated many good cadres and destroyed our movement. I hope he suffers after death,” he says. He then asks a visiting reporter to get hold of a satellite telephone for him, sketching a collapsible phone he has seen. “I want a good telephone. One that I can call anywhere in the world.”

POL POT: THE END pol Pot at his jungle trial July 25, 1997 in the Khmer Rouge controlled jungles of Northern Cambodia in the days after Pol Pot lost a bloody power struggle among his last top loyalists. He was denounced and sentenced to life imprison not for the deaths of 1.8 million of his countrymen during 3 years, 8 months and 20 days in power, but for being a “traitor to the revolution.”

But working the phone will not prevent Ta Mok from rapidly losing the loyalty of his own commanders. Privately, many of his top officers and cadres hold him responsible for the collapse of the movement since he seized control from Pol Pot last July. “He is very tired,” says a senior Khmer Rouge official. “No man can shoulder all the political, diplomatic and military burdens by himself.” Others are less kind. “He has no more support from many of his own people,” whispers one cadre. “But we don’t know where to go. Cambodia has no good leaders.”

Fear was in the faces of many leaders and cadres still holed up near the Thai border–and for good reason. “There may be more traitors, it is normal. But in the end they will all die,” Ta Mok says. He’s a man of his word: Three top commanders arrested with Pol Pot last year were executed in late March because some of the fighters who mutinied were loyal to them. “It was a decision made by the people,” Ta Mok shrugs.

Ta Mok speaking with author as Pol Pot’s body lay dead 30 meters away and rockets and artillary from mutinying tropps rained down on us. “This is all Pol Pot’s fault! I hope he suffers after he is dead,” said Ta Mok. ” Pol Pot was a Vietnamese agent! I have the documents!” he said wagging his finger at me. His interpreter turned to me and said: ” Don’t believe anything he says. This movement is finished. Can you get me to America?”

He gives the impression of being increasingly out of touch with reality, seeing enemies everywhere and unwilling to compromise. His brutal tactics are also a source of unease among his remaining loyalists. “Our movement will only get stronger. We have sent our forces close to Phnom Penh and they have carried out their tasks successfully,” he says. The “task” he boasts of was the recent massacre of 22 ethnic Vietnamese, including women and children, in a fishing village in Kompong Chhnang province.

The REVIEW has learned that many of the estimated 1,600 guerrillas still nominally under Ta Mok’s command have pledged allegiance to the forces loyal to Ranariddh’s Funcinpec party, who occupy nearby jungles. Cadres say that in negotiations with Funcinpec’s Gen. Nyek Bun Chhay, they have pledged loyalty to Ranariddh’s party and agreed to force Ta Mok into “retirement.”

Scores of uniformed Funcinpec troops, including senior commanders, are fighting alongside Ta Mok loyalists north of Anlong Veng. Gen. Meas Sarin, a Funcinpec commander and governor of Preah Vihear province before Hun Sen’s coup in July, is present at Khmer Rouge headquarters. He says 600 Funcinpec troops are fighting government forces alongside Ta Mok’s commanders. The heavy fighting nearby is audible during the interview.

This presents a political dilemma for Ranariddh. He has pledged to abide by a Japanese peace plan that aims to create conditions for Funcinpec to campaign freely ahead of the July elections–something Hun Sen has resisted. The Japanese plan specifically calls for the severing of links between Funcinpec troops and Ta Mok’s guerrillas. For the moment, Ranariddh is choosing denial. “I do not have any cooperative relations with the Khmer Rouge,” he said on April 17. “Rumours currently circulating to the effect that forces loyal to me are supporting the Khmer Rouge forces in Anlong Veng are not true.”

Pol Pot during interview October 16, 1997 with author. it was his only public statements since he was driven from power two decades earlier and his last before his death 6 months to the day later. He refused to express any remorse. “Look at me. Am I a savage person?” he said

That’s not the only obstacle facing Japan and ASEAN as they try to find a formula that would allow Ranariddh to return home to campaign for the polls. The job was already hard enough for the Thai, Philippine and Indonesian foreign ministers who met King Norodom Sihanouk in Siem Riep in mid-April. But then Sihanouk made it harder by telling them Ranariddh should pull out of the elections–and Cambodian politics altogether–and instead prepare to be king, according to furious Funcinpec members.

Meanwhile, Cambodia’s neighbors are becoming increasingly exasperated by the seemingly endless war. Interviewed in Bangkok, Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan expresses optimism that elections could be held in Cambodia, but also voices a warning. “Without a resolution to the Cambodian conflict, the region is being perceived as insecure, unstable. That prevents further cooperation and development for Asia,” he says, pointing to plans to develop the Mekong basin that are now delicately poised.

China, previously hesitant about taking part in the Mekong’s development, is now willing to participate, Surin says. That means that Cambodia, at the heart of the Mekong Basin, is now the major remaining obstacle. “The region is being denied this development by the existing Cambodian conflict,” says Surin. “Certainly, there is a sense of Cambodia fatigue in the international community. Cambodians should realize that.”

Nate Thayer, winner of the 1998 International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award for Outstanding International Investigative Reporting, is the Southeast Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review. In July 1997, after years of cultivating sources, Thayer was allowed in to the remote northern Cambodia field headquarters of the Khmer Rouge for a “people’s tribunal” of their ousted former leader Pol Pot. Three months later, Thayer repeated his exclusive coverage, this time conducting the first interview with Pol Pot in 18 years. It was also the only interview before Pol Pot – blamed for the deaths of more than 1 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1978 – died.

Thayer, a native of Washington, D.C., had spent years cultivating sources in Thailand, Cambodia, and beyond, trying to track down the elusive Pol Pot. A contributor to Jane’s Defence Weekly, The Associated Press, and more than 40 publications, Thayer began writing for the Far Eastern Economic Review in 1989 and made dozens of reporting trips into resistance-controlled Cambodia. The physical toll of his work included hospitalization 16 times for cerebral malaria and broken bones and shrapnel wounds after his truck hit an anti-tank mine.

Thayer’s dogged reporting also earned him The World Press Award, the 1997 “Scoop of the Year” British press award, The Overseas Press Club of America Award, the Asian Publishers and Editors Award for Excellence in Reporting, and the 1998 Francis Fox Wood Award for Courage in Journalism. While a 1996-1997 visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, Thayer received a grant to write a book on Cambodian politics.

While the focus of Thayer’s reporting has been Asia, he has also covered the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Cuba, and Mongolia. He continues to concentrate on international organized crime, narcotics trafficking, human rights, North Korea, and areas of military conflict.

Pot Pot Tells China in 1977 that Killings Underway, to Continue

13 Sep

Pol Pot  details Khmer Rouge killing enemies in the party to Chinese premier Hua Guofeng in 1977, warns him war with Vietnam is neccessary and looming

 Beijing, 29 September 1977

By Nate Thayer

The day before Pol Pot arrived for a state visit in Beijing in September 1977, he made a speech in Phnom Penh in which he publicly revealed for the first time the existence of the Cambodian Communist Party and that he himself was its General Secretary. Neither the Cambodian people nor the world was aware of this even after they had been in power for over two years.

Five days earlier, on September 24, Khmer Rouge forces launched attacks against a number of villages inside Vietnam.

He arrived in Beijing 28 September and departed for Pyongyang on October 4, returning China a week later and returning to Cambodia on 22 October 1977.

It was Pol Pot’s only official visit outside Cambodia while in power as the leader of the Khmer Rouge government, to China and North Korea.

This photo at the farewell ceremony for Pol Pot in Beijing on 22 October 1977 is the last photo of Pol Pot while he was in power before being driven to the jungle more than two years later on 7 January 1979. With a smiling Pol Pot waving in the foreground, Deng Xiaoping on the left and Hua Guofeng in the foreground. Between Hua and Pol Pot, is Ieng Sary, Minister foreign affairs and Pol Pot’s brother-in-law. While Vietnam captioned this as Pol Pot’s arrival in Beijing, Deng was absent the day of the welcoming ceremony for Pol Pot. This official Chinese photograph was used by Vietnamese propaganda to demonstrate collusion between the Khmers Rouge and Beijing.

In China, he met with the chairman of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese premier Hua Guofeng, who was Mao’s hand-picked successor, as well as soon to be top leader Deng Xiapeng.

Pol Pot departed China for a state visit to North Korea in early October where he was given a high profile state welcome by Kim Il Sung, before returning for more talks in China.

He signed agreements for increased military aid, training, and other assistance with both countries during this trip.

Reticent concerning the harsh Khmer Rouge rule and rapid march towards war with Vietnam, China nevertheless gave its full and complete support to Democratic Kampuchea when the then undeclared war with Vietnam erupted two years later.

Deng in discussions with Pol Pot tried to convince the Khmer Rouge to be cautious and delay war with Vietnam, but Pol Pot dismissed China’s advice, worsening already strained relations between Beijng and Hanoi.

China nevertheless gave its full and complete support to Democratic Kampuchea in its then undeclared war with Vietnam.

During his visit to China, Pol Pot (on the left) received the support of Deng Xiaoping for the “successes” of “Democratic Kampuchea” in the constitution of a “classless” society and in the battle against Vietnam. Official undated Chinese photograph.

In this working meeting with Hua Guafeng, according to these recently surfaced Chinese transcripts, Pol Pot spells out clearly the purges underway in Cambodia and that war with Vietnam was looming, two years before the rest of the world became aware of the massacres taking place in Cambodia. ” We think that they have prepared intelligence personnel inside our forces. At the central level, they have 5 agents; at the division level, they have between 4 and 10; and in addition, they have some in the provinces,” he said, detailing enemy agents within the core of thee inner party power circle and senior commanding military officers. Pol Pot starkly outlined, in no uncertain terms, his centrally directed sweep of killing enemies at the highest level of his regime on down, would continue, and proclaimed  the inevitability of war with Vietnam to the Chinese premier.

Hua Guofeng responds:”Your strategy regarding the neighboring countries is correct.”

The ambassador from the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, Sun Hua, on the left, with Ieng Sary, toasting each other in Phnom Penh. Undated photo found by the Vietnamese Army in the archives in january 1979, abandoned by the Khmer Rouge as they fled Phnom Penh .

Pol Pot: The Soviet Union, Vietnam, and Cuba are cooperating in order to fight us in the border areas. We think that they have prepared intelligence personnel inside our forces. At the central level, they have 5 agents; at the division level, they have between 4 and 10; and in addition, they have some in the provinces. Since September 1975, they have been preparing to attack Phnom Penh, Prey Veng, and the border areas. They are also preparing to assassinate our leadership with high-accuracy guns and poison. They have several times poisoned food that we by chance did not eat. Thailand, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam are cooperating to do so. We also have documents to show that the US and Vietnam also cooperate on this issue. In 1976, we started to solve the problem of the Vietnamese agents and by June 1977, the job was basically completed. We have placed carefully selected cadres to be in charge of Phnom Penh and the border areas, especially on the Eastern border [with Vietnam] where there are many CIA agents. We understand that the nature of the Vietnamese armed forces has changed. They can no longer bear hardship. They now rely on heavy weaponry, tanks, and aircraft. At the same time, the nature of their infantry forces has also changed. Their troops do not want to fight. Many of their troops from the North have taken additional wives in the South and they cannot fight. We are not concerned about fighting, but about the constant threat from Vietnam. Not only does Vietnam want to annex Cambodia and Laos. It also wants to occupy the whole of Southeast Asia. We have conducted negotiations with them many times, but to no avail. To solve the problem by military means will lead to a decrease in our forces.

The official Chinese diplomat passport Beijing issued to Ieng Sary under the false Chinese name “Su Hao,” falsely stating he was born in Beijing on 1 January 1930. The passport was issued by the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, to allow Sary to travel outside of China after the fall of the Khmer Rouge to Vietnam in January 1979.

POL POT: The strategic orientation, therefore, should be to develop revolution in Southeast Asia. Otherwise, it will take centuries to solve the problem between Vietnam and Cambodia. Laos, to our knowledge, will play an important role in the strategy of Vietnam. The Vietnamese-Lao Treaty of 13 July 1977 is a treaty under which Vietnam annexes Lao territory. Laos’ population is three million. Yet, the number of Vietnamese in Laos alone—not to mention the Vietnamese Laotians—is three million. The Vietnamese population is increasing by between one and two million every year. After five years, the Laotians will be a minority. Vietnam, however, is not able to control Laos because it has insufficient human, financial, and food resources. If the revolution in Southeast Asia advances strongly, exploiting the opportunities, then the situation will be better and we shall solve our problem. We have conversed with our Burmese, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Thai friends and reached agreement with them. This is a big political victory even though it will be more complicated when we go into details. We rely on our Chinese friends in the North. Southeast Asia is united. This situation encourages us strategically. As far as our foreign policy is concerned, we try to unite the Southeast Asian forces. Our Central Committee considers this an important task. We spend time working with parties in Southeast Asia. That Cambodia can defend itself is contributing to the defense of Southeast Asia. As before, we feel safe having the Chinese as friends. The recent 11th CCP Congress encourages us and promises us and the Southeast Asian revolution a bright future.

Hua Guofeng: Your strategy regarding the neighboring countries is correct.

. Pol Pot ,front left, walks with the Chinese delegation led by Wang Dongxing, front, right, during the delegation’s visit to Democratic Kampuchea on November 5, 1978. Khieu Samphan and Noun Chea follow behind. During this visit, two months before they fled Vietnamese tanks to jungles, Pol Pot is said to have asked for urgent military aid from China, but the request was rejected.

On October 4, Pol Pot and his delegation, which included Nuon Chea, who was in charge of the security services and the political commander of the Khmer Rouge killing apparatus, brother-in-law foreign minister Ieng Sary, Defence Minister Son Sen, and sister-in-law Ieng Thirith–the top Politburo members of the Cambodian party– arrived in Pyongyang , where they were met with signature North Korean pomp and choreographed enthusiastic welcome.

Pol Pot was given full state honors in a high profile show of support by Kim Il Sung, The Pol Pot delegation merited no less than 26 separate stories in official North Korean media, non stop radio and TV coverage, innumerable photographs above the fold on the party organs, and at least 6 separate meeting with the Great leader Kim Il Sung, who met Pol Pot at the airport, bringing along a crowd of hundreds of thousands cheering and waving flowers. who lined the road to Pyongyang.

Ieng Sary, Pol Pot, and Son Sen (left to right) together in Pyongyang. This undated photograph was captured in an attack on Khmer Rouge bases and obtained by journalists.

Upon his arrival, “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song firmly shook hands with Comrade Pol Pot at Pyongyang Airport” where “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song posed for a commemorative photo with the party and government delegation of Democratic Cambodia headed by Comrade Pol Pot”

Then “Comrade Pol Pot inspected an honor guard of the three services of the Korean People’s Army” was feted by “College coeds (who) courteously presented fragrant bunches of flowers to the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot.”

They continued to Pyongyang where the “chairman of the Pyongyang Administrative Committee, together with heroes of the republic and model workers, presented a statue of an anti-imperialist fighter to Comrade Pol Pot On 4 Oct 77″ after which “Singing and dancing, circular ranks of boy and girl students and artists enthusiastically welcomed the goodwill envoy of the Cambodian people with Kim Il-song in attendance at Kim Il-song square.”

The next two days, October 5 and October 6, were much more secretive as the Khmer Rouge delegation members held working meeting with their Korean counterparts.  “Talks were held between the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot” said official Pyongyang media, followed by high profile festivities the evening of October 5th, where  “Comrade Pol Pot, together with the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song, mounted the stage at Mansudae Theater and presented the performers with a basket of flowers to congratulate them on their successful performance, posing for a commemorative photo with them.”

On October 6, 1977, “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song paid a return courtesy call on Comrade Pol Pot” and later “Talks were held between the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot.”

North Korea, along with China, were the only two countries in Phnom Penh during Khmer Rouge rule whose diplomats were permitted to leave their embassy compound without prior permission. Several thousand North Korean technicians and advisors were living in Cambodia. North Korea provided steel, damn materials and engineers to assist construction, and training to the military and security services.

In another telling public show of support by Pyongyang to Pol Pot in 1977, as Pol Pot’ escalated the mass internal purges of perceived enemies, North Korean media broadcast a message congratulating the Cambodian comrades on the 17th anniversary of the founding of the Communist party of Kampuchea.  The official media report said Kim Il Sung congratulated the Cambodian people for having “wiped out [the] counterrevolutionary group of spies who had committed subversive activities and sabotage”

After negotiating increased trade and assistance from Pyongyang, on October 7 Pol Pot was welcomed by hundreds of thousands at the national stadium where “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot raised high their tightly clasped hands in acknowledgement of the crowd’s enthusiastic welcome at Moranbong Stadium ” where the Khmer Rouge delegation were honored by seating on “The presidential platform of the Pyongyang mass rally welcoming, with the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song in attendance, the party and government delegation of Democratic Cambodia headed by Comrade Pol Pot.”

The gathering was trumpeted by North Korean media who displayed  photos of “Kim Il-song delivering a speech at the 7 October mass rally welcoming Pol Pot.”

In front of the high profile assembly of thousands prominently trumpeted by state media, “The Great Leader Comrade Kim Il-song conferred the title of Hero of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Comrade Pol Pot.”

The next day, October 8 morning, “The Great leader Comrade Kim Il-song and Comrade Pol Pot signed the joint communique between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Democratic Cambodia” and “In congratulation of the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers Party, Comrade Pol Pot presented the great leader Comrade Kim Il-song with a basket of flowers and prayed for the long life of the great leader.”

“The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song cordially bade farewell to Comrade Pol Pot upon his departure from Pyongyang after successful completion of his visit to our nation” and, a separate story detailed “The great leader Comrade Kim Il-song firmly shook hands with Comrade Pol Pot on his departure from Pyongyang.”

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