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Bulletin

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NCR

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Contents
In tbis edition of NCR Bulletin:
3 4 5 10 12 14 15 16 19 20 22 26 28 29 Letter from the Publishers. EDITORIAL: Vietnam's Broken Promises. Pboto..story: NCR's military victories. • MAIN FEATI1RE: Review of the Eighties. Part 1: The Military Front. Part 2: The Economic Front Part 3: The Political Front Part 4: The Diplomatic Front OPINION: by a guest writer. Centre-page picture. NEWS: A COmmuniSt defector speaks out NCR Intelligence. . LETJ'ER.: Heng Samrin under Pol Pot KHMER LANGUAGE SECflON.

Cover: the NCRjJagflies over liberated Cambodia

NCRBULLETIN

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NCRBULLErrm by KPNLF J4ND f,UNCINPEC with the assistance oJJhe stolfo! WOK.

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NCRBULLET'IN

Letter

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BANDT'S LfEG?ACY OF BRO/KEN PROMlS:ES

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12
real guerrilla warfare, striking the enemy at unexpected points and melting bade into the jungle after their attacks. Perhaps to their surprise, the Vietnamese now discovered that the NCR and the Khmer Rouge (who remained loosely allied under the United Nations-recognised CGDK) were moreofa menace than ever before. The Vietnamese began to understand thatthey would never subjugate the Khmers by military means. Meanwhile the battle was going equally badly for Vietnam on the political front (the Khmers were not responding well to their enforced Communist indoctrination), and on the economic front (world pressure was forcing the Vietnamese economy into a vicious downward spiral). Only the diplomatic front (on which the Vietnamese had had notable triumphs in the past) presented some opportunities .. So the Vietnamese changed their tactics. The emphasis from the end of 1987 onwards was to be on obtaining diplomatic recognition for their puppet regime (including persuading Prince Sihanoulc to espouse it and return to Phnom Penh), thus permanently consolidating the position of their surrogate regime in Phnom Penh. When they announced the proposed withdrawal of their troops from Cambodia, the Vietnamese understood that they were sacrificing any immediate chance they might have had an the military front. Their hope was that they could boost the Heng Samrin army sufficiently to hold off the NCR while they completed their diplomatic manoeuvres. They were not worried about the Khmer Rouge. They knew that if the KR made massive military gains, the world would step in and do something about it. Perhaps they felt (and still feel) the world woulqsanction their return to Cambodia if it was clearly seen to be with the objective of conta~ning the dreaded Khme~ Rouge. their intention to withdraw and their staging the so-called "final" withdrawal of 26,000 combat troops on September 28 1989, the Vietnamese took a number of precautions to ensure that their hold over Cambodia was maintained as tightly as possible, and to pave the way for a resumption of their plan to dominate Indochina when circumstances again make it possible. Firstly they disguised their "Propaganda and Education Units", as civilians or Heng Samrin soldiers. These units control the Heng Samrin administration including the police, judiciary and prisons, at provincial level all over Cambodia. There are believed to be about 26,000 Vietnamese in these units. Naturally most of them speak Khmer. Secondly they boosted Heng Samrin's army with ethnic Khmers from South Vietnam (Kampuchea Krom, annexed by Vietnam before the French decided Cambodia's new borders).

",t, .'

PRESENT SITUATION
That the Vietnamese have (allegedly) removed their combat troops from Cambodia at all, is due greatly to the credit of the resistance. Had it not been for their dogged persistence, with only pitiful support from the free world, the Vietnamese would undoubtedly have stood up to all the other pressures. The Vietnamese have total contempt for world opinion. In the interval between announcing

Thirdly they re-imported thousands of Khmer orphans who have spent the last ten years under Vietnamese Communist indoctrination, and have been trained in Vietnam. These Khmers make up Heng Samrin's so-called "crack regiments". Quite a few them are girls. Fourthly they installed a further number of military advisers at various levels. Hanoi admits that it has 80,000 Vietnamese "civilians" still remaining in Cambodia. (These are the official Vietnamese residents - they do not count the million or so ordinary Vietnamese who have settled of their own volition to escape from Vietnam's fiercer brand of Communism). Fifthly they introduced legislation authorising compulsory conscription for all Cambodia's young male population. (Conscription was hardly voluntary under the Vietnamese, but it had never previously been "legally" sanctioned). Whether or not the Vietnamese still have, as has been alleged, Vietnamese troops hiding inside Cambodia is open to doubt. The consensus is that they would not risk being caught out, when they can station their combat troops across the border in Vietnam, only an hour or so's flying time from any point in Cambodia.

of

Immediately the Vietnamese combat troops departed, the resistance, both the NCR and the Khmer Rouge, set out to regain some territory inside Cambodia (see map inside back cover for the latest position at press time). Since then the situation has remained extremely fluid. The NCR have not made the mistake of trying to revert to the kind of conventional warfare (ie holding fixed positions) that they used prior to 1986. Rather it is a combination of guerrilla and conventional warfare. While the KPNLAF and ANS maintain a fluid perimeter, within which they can attempt to keep the civilian population safe, their main progress is to strike at Heng Samrin fixed positions, capture or destroy their weapons, give such help as they can to the local people, and then fade away into the bush. One need for this tactic is that the standard Heng Samrin reaction to NCR attacks has been to retreat a few miles with their heavy artillery and then shell the positions they believe to be occupied by the NCR. . The NCR therefore has tried to avoid permanently occupying civilianinhabited areas, in the hope thatthe Heng Samrin regime are intelligent enough to realise that every Khmer civilian they kill by indiscriminate shelling is a nail in their own propaganda coffin. The success of the NCR forces in recent weeks has hugely boosted their confidence. In particularthey have learned to cope with tanks, the weapon 1110st readed d by all Khmers who have, time and time again, watched the Vietnamese flattening their humble dwellings with them. As a result, the NCR farces no longer fear the coming of the dry season, when the Heng Samrin regime can make more use of tanks. Some units are almost eagerly awaiting the coming confrontation. In persuading the Heng Samrin forces to defect, both the NCR have been immensely successful. Among at least 50,000 Khmers DOW under NCR control alone, are hundreds of defectors from Heng Samrin's army. Meanwhile the Khmer Rouge have been attacking Heng Samrin positions further to the south. The NCR and

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The sinister aspect 1:(0/he sitl;l'ation is t vthat it is the NCR .. rather than the Khmer Rouge that Hun Sen proposes' to'·'exterminate " first"
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Khmer Rouge do not fight together, but sometimes may co-ordinate their attacks to cause maximum inconvenience to the Heng Samrin forces. There are, for instance, no KR soldiers in the zones now controlled by NCR forces. .The capture by the Khmer Rouge of Pailin was a heavy blow to the Heng Sarnrin regime, because it is the centre of one of cambodia's most important exports - gem-stones. The pockets of Hun Sen and other Heng Samrin Ministers are suffering from the loss of Pail in, as much as their pride. After capturing Pail in, the Khmer Rouge's main combat troops, like those of

the NCR, have faded away into the mountains, leaving only minimal defensive forces. As With towns and villages left unoccupied by the NCR troops, the Heng Samrin propagandists have tried to classify these withdrawals as "defeats". At the time of writing there has been a lull in the fighting, as the resistance consolidates its positions, and tries to cope with the large population of civilians that has fallen under its control. Many more civilians and defectors are expected now to make their way to the liberated zones, where the NCR, largely bereft of support from the relief agencies (which are once again in a state of political and organisational chaos), will do its best to look after them. The most sinister aspect of the present situation devolves around Heng Samrin Defence Minister, Tea Banh's statement that the Heng Samrin army will be organising counter-attacks during the coming dry season "starting with the NCR". y.'hile it is a fact that the NCR are occupying easier ground for the Hneg Samrin forces to attack with tanks and APCs during the coming dry season, it is the political implications of this I-Ieng Samrin statement that are more alarming, Despite the VietnamjHeng Samrin political stance which claims they are trying to prevent the Khmer Rouge from returning to power, it is the NCR that they

NCR BULLETIN

REVIEW OF THE EIGHTIES
propose (in their own words) "to exterminate first".

VERDICf:The NCRforces have made substantial territorial gains, and captured thousands of weapons, including tanks and heavy artillery. While there appears to be a temporary stalemate, the NCR are definitelyahead on this "battlefield". The main objective, however, is to force the Vietnamese and their puppet regime back to the negotiating table for a comprehensive political settlement; thus no side can be said to have "won"until this is achieved.

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2. The Political Front
TIlE BACKGROUND

It is on the political "battlefield" that the Vietnamese have suffered most reverses in Cambodia since they invaded it just over a decade ago.
To those who have never met a Khmer, they are a people of fierce pride in their heritage, which includes the incredible civilisation that built Angkor Wat. This fabulous temple still holds the record as the largest religious building ever constructed - and It-was built 800 years ago. The Khmers think of themselves as a race, rather than as a nation. There are substantial colonies of Khmers living in Thailand and Vietnam - as well as Khmer communities in the USA, France, Britain, Australia and other parts of the world. As a country, cambodia, which once dominated Southeast Asia, both militarily and culturally, gradually shrank away to practically nothing as the Vietnamese and Thais alternately bit into its territory. The French restored its boundaries, but their over-exploitation of their Indochina colonies ultimately caused them to abandon them. When America and Vietnam dragged cambodia into their conflict, cambodia was still a peace- loving and somewhat indolent backwater, so fertile that its people never needed to worry about where their next meal was coming from. From the Vietnam conflict sprang the Khmer Rouge, fierce Communists, who had learned their alien ideology in the anarchicClimate of Paris in the Fifties and Sixties. They came to power on .an hysterical wave of nationalistic fervour, soonto be drowned in the ghastly excesses of their disastrous experiment in pure Marxism. When the Vietnamese invaded cambodia in 1978, they found a situation nevertheless not far removed from that in their own country - a totalitarian regime that had suppressed all forms of political opposition, private property ownership and human rights, and kept any potential dissenters safelylocked away in prisons or re-education camps (if they had not already been executed). To the Vietnamese, therefore, it seemed a simple matter to complete the

task the Khmer Rouge had begun. They would continue with a totalitarian MarxistLeninist Regime. They would rewrite cambodia's history so that Khmer children would grow up to believe that Vietnam had always been cambodia's friend and supporter. They would ban the teaching of all foreign languages (except Vietnamese and RUSSian). They would prevent the resurgence of Buddhism or any other religion. And they would ensure that the few remnants of Khmer culturewere buried forever under a tide of Communist-style "Peasants Happy Toiling for their Motherland"

propaganda,

But the Vietnamese had reckoned without Khmer pride and tenacity. After the Khmer Rouge, Communism was quite the wrong ideology to force down the Khmer throat. Even some of the former Khmer Rouge defectors that the Vietnamese installed as a puppet regime had had enough of Communism. Nevertheless they were comparatively well off under their new Vietnamese masters (who chose to forget both that they had once supported the Khmer Rouge, and that the puppets they installed in Phnom Penh had been active in that awful organisation). So cambodia carried on much as Pol Pot had envisioned iI, except th_atnow the Vietnamese were dictating every move.

TIlE CmmENT

SITUATION

It should be made quite clear that there is a not a single Cambodian 'anywhere in the world, including those in the Khmer Rouge camps, who wants a return to Pol Pot's style of government. Had the Vietnamese. and Heng Samrin regime not kept this fear so vividly alive ln order to maintain the pretext that they were defending the Khmer people against the return of Pol Pot, it would surely no longer be considered even remotely possible by any logically-thinking person. When the Khmer Rouge attained power in 1975, it was with massive popular support. Few people, inside or outside Cambodia, had any idea that theyplanned the world's most comprehensive experiment in Marxist govern men t. (The emptying of the cities, for instance, was a literal interpretation of the instructions in Marx's Manifesto which demanded: "equal liabil-

ity for all to labour; . establishment of industrial armies, especially in agriculture" and "abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population"). Although the Khmer Rouge claim no longer to support Pol Pot's ultra-Marxist theories, they maintain a reputation for harsh discipline and lack of respect for accepted human rights. They will have to abandon their paranoiac secrecy if the world is to accept that they have Changed .. Among Cambodians the Khmer Rouge have lost every iota of the popular support that originally allowed them to take power. In a genuine free election they would get nowhere. Nonetheless, they continue to exist as a military force. The Vietnamese tried for 10 years to destroy them, and failed. Who now is prepared to take on the task? Cambodians believe that, given haIfa chance, most Khmer Rouge supporters would abandon their leaders, and resume their traditional Khmer way of life. But if they are not given that choice, they will remain a threat to a free cambodia's security and a drain on its resources for years to come. Everything that the NCR is attempting todo is designed to bring about the necessary opportunity for all Khmers to choose their own destiny and their own way of life. Everything the Heng Samrin regime (backed by the Vietnamese) is trying to do is designed to block this possibility, so that they can cling on to power indefinitely. Meanwhile the story of how the NCR has fought the political battle inside cambodia remains to be told. It is still going on, and it is one of the outstanding successes of both the NCR, and its most loyal, intelligent and perceptive supporters. Above all it has prepared the Cambodian people for the responsibility of deciding their own destiny through free elections.

VERDICf: Vietnamese attempts to impose an alien, Communist way of life on the Khmer people and destroy their ancient culture, have failed utterly. The Khmer people want nothing more to do with Communism. The NCR, although sometimes worried by the scaremongers who somewhat ludicrously predict the return of Pol Pot, have clearly won the political front already.

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3. The Economic
11ffi BACKGROUND

TIle shocking decline in Uving standards in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, particularly when compared to

Front
Cambodians suspected of having contact with the NCR. While Russia was the major paymaster for Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia, the Vietnamese gained some economic advantage out of the situation by stripping Cambodia of many of its assets. Rice was enforceably bought from Cambodian farmers and sold on to the Vietnamese at knockdown prices. One favourite Vietnamese trick was to substitute high quality rice delivered by misguided international relief organisations for inferior rice produced by themselves, and pocket the difference. ;Vietnamese fishermen plundered Cambodia's inland sea, Tonie Sap, of its rich harvest of fish, which was sent by the boatload down the Mekong to South Vietnam. Perhaps most serious of all, the Vietnamese robbed Cambodia's temples of their un ique statuary, and sold the coveted items on the international collectors' black market. As forthe Vietnamese army, their leaders hardly bothered to feed them at all. They were expected to forage for their food, stealing what they required from Cambodia's subservient farmers. But the marginal trading profit made by the Vietnamese out of Cam bodia in no way made up for the damage done to their people's standard of living'by their isolation from the free-world economy. option, normalisation of US relations with Vietnam would be premature". He added: "In the current situation, we plan to steadfastly maintain our support for the diplomatic and economic isolation of Vietnam as a reminder to the Vietnamese that attempts to manipulate international opinion will not provide a real basis for improved relations with other countries". In Cambodia itself, the economy of that benighted country has not been improved by the massive corruption practiced by the regime's officials up to the highest level (For more details see the interview with Heng Samrin defector Chhin Sun Ail pu blished in this issue of NCR Bulletin). The cutting of many of the smuggling routes into Thailand; the re-imposed curfew in all major cities and other symptoms ofthe current unrest willdo nothing to improve the lot of the average Cambodian. Additionally, this year's rice harvest looks to be in trou ble. At an earlier stage, ~ only 40% of projected planting had been completed. Nearly every year since the invasion, Cambodia has appealed, for international aid to prevent starvation, but generally this basturnedout to be a false alarm, or perhaps a play in favour of trade with Vietnam. This year the situation could be more serious, especially since many Cambodians will again be displaced by the fighting inside their country. .
,

thestartllng advance in prosperity of their neighbours, has been a major factor in curbing Vietnam's adventurism in cambodia.
In common with Communist peoples world-wide, some Vietnamese are beginning to question whether socialism has the beneficial effect on a nation's economy that Marx predicted more than a century ago. It does not equalise incomes, except insofar as the majority get poorer. Nevertheless the leaders of Vietnam and its puppet regime in Cambodia do not yet appear to have.grasped this message. One reason for this may be the relative prosperity of those at the summit of a totalitarian government. Power corrupts, says the aphorism, and those who seize power by force of arms or cling on to it through single party systems, are plainly more likely to be corrupted than those who can periodically be replaced by the democratic vote of the ordinary people. By invading Cambodia against the will of the people and maintaining that invasion in the face of an unprecedented series of condemnatory resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly. the Vietnamese forfeited the benefits of most other "Third World" or "developing" countries. For the ten years that Vietnam occupied Cambodia, the brunt of the cost was born by the USSR. While Russia' has never revealed the true cost cf its support for Vietnam's occupation of Cambodia, it has been estimated that Russia subsidised Vietnam to the tune of $2 million to $3 million a day - that is more in one week than the NCR received from the freeworld in a whole year. Giving testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs, DeputyAssistant Secretary of State David lambertson recently revealed that the Soviet Union provided the Heng Samrin regime with military and other assistance totalling $1,1000 million between 1984 and 1988. It need hardly be mentioned that such a sum would have been enough to set Cambodia's economy on a soaring upward path, had it been used for economic development, rather than for such unnecessary luxuries as knocking down Khmer refugee camps and imprisoning

mE CURRENT SITUATION
In Vietnam the argument for free enterprise against state control is currently still raging. The Communist hardliners continue to vote against the liberalisation of Vietnam's economy eagerly sought by younger and more realistic members of Vietnam's Politburo, Additionally, the United States has decided to continue to refuse to re-estab!ish formal diplomatic and economic relations with Hanoi until Vietnam agrees to a comprehensive political settlement in Cambodia. Assistant Secretary of State, David Lambertson told the Senate Sub-Committee (mentioned above): "In the light of recent developments, including Vietnamese intransigence in Paris, the current stalemate regarding a comprehensive settlement in Cambodia, and apparent movement backwards towards a military

VERDICf: The Vietnamese are clearly currently losers on the economic "battlefield". In destroying their own economy in the cause of subjugating Cambodia they have inflicted needless suffering both on their own people and on those of their neighbours, Cambodia and Laos, The question of who will be the ultimate "winner" now may depend on the free-world's perception of Vietnam's long-term intentions towards its neighbours.