|Four Cambodian Factions|
By Khmer Wathanakam
The Paris peace Agreement officially ended a protracted war between the Vietnamese invaders along with their communist satellite regime and the Khmer Tripartite Resistance Government on October 23, 1991. But this agreement seemed officially legalize Hanoi's proxy regime which had isolated from the international community over a decade rather than fully protected Khmer's interest. In fact, the Paris Peace Agreement is fair enough for Cambodia, and it is the second political instrument or thwart after the Geneva Peace Accord in 1954 for Cambodia to protect itself from all potential enemies, especially Vietnam and Thailand. Unfortunately, this agreement has been hijacked by the current regime which has repeatedly violated the Paris Peace Accord--unfair border demarcation, bloody coup 1997, human right abuse, election fraud, and so on. If this accord is fully respected and fallowed by Hun Sen's regime, Cambodia will become a master of its own destination and the most democratic and developed country in the region.
The Paris Peace Agreement has provided Cambodia all political and economic means to defense and to develop itself to its potential capacity. But Hun Sen has not only ignored it but repeatedly violated it. There are many important parts of this accord, but we pick only two crucial elements as examples: (1) part II, article 12 explicitly spells out the guarantee of the people's rights to determine their future based on free and fair election, but so far all elections have not been free nor fair except the UN's supervision election in 1993. (2) part IV, article 18 clearly spells out about how to maintain, to preserve, and to defense the country, and how the other signatories recognize and respect the sovereignty, independence, and the national unity of Cambodia. In this article, Vietnam and Thailand (the signatory countries) grossly violated it. Vietnam forced Hun Sen to sign an unfair border treaty in 2005, which severely violated Cambodia's sovereignty and independence. And Thailand's claim over part of the Preas Vihear Temple's vicinity is also another violation over the Cambodian sovereignty even in a smaller scale vis a vis Vietnam which has covertly controlled Cambodia via its subservient Hun Sen's Regime.
Cambodia was granted this sacred thwart (the Paris Peace accord) to defense itself in all circumstances, but so far the government has never used it to solve any problem, instead it ignores and violates it since the beginning. A withdrawal of all foreign troops, advisers, and their military equipments from the country were never verified by the UN. Hanoi unilaterally claimed to withdraw its troops from Cambodia in 1989 without an independent verification. During fierce battle in 1989-90 in Pailin prior to the peace accord, we saw thousands of Vietnamese soldiers dressed in Khmer uniforms in Battambang Airport on their way towards the front lines in Pailin. But when the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) came in, those Vietnamese soldiers disappeared. They might transform themselves into an underground network or whatever without verification. During the UNTAC's mandate, Hun Sen's Regime freely operated its political and security apparatuses without check by the UN's authorities. Even though the UN's supervised election was mostly recognized as free and fair, but violence and intimidation committed by the State of Cambodia were imminent; hundred of opposition activists were assassinated during election campaigns and many people in rural areas were bought or forced to vote for Cambodian People Party (CPP). The Paris Peace Accord has been violated by the CPP since the beginning of its validation that led to the Khmer Rouge's boycott of the 1993's election and created a precedence for the CPP to continuously violate it until today, for there is no consequence.
The Paris Peace Accord has put Khmer in more disadvantageous position than the Geneva Peace Agreement despite it specifically covered a scope of Cambodia rather than the whole Indochina as the Geneva Peace Accord had done. In deed, the Paris Peace Accord is great for Cambodia; it is comparable to a sacred thwart to protect Cambodia, but the thwart owner has not used it but left it rustic, or this sacred thwart felt into a wrong hand of person, not a real owner. In this scenario, Hun Sen, the Hanoi's protege, is holding this thwart, and he doesn't use it to protect Khmer people but to cut their heads for the sake of Hanoi's interest. In contrast, the Geneva Peace Agreement though broadly covered a whole scope of the Indochina war, but part of its agreement focused on Cambodia's independence and sovereignty, and Cambodia clearly emerged as a winner from among the three countries in Indochina--Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia.
Since Cambodia was fully granted independence by the French without partisan in compared with Vietnam and Laos, there is no doubt that Cambodia received great benefit from this agreement. Cambodia was instantaneously recognized as a unified state despite the Communist Khmer Vietminh insisted to create their own autonomous region in provinces of Rathnakiri, Mondolkiri, and Stingtreng; their demand not only strongly rejected but the Khmer Vietminh Delegation was barred from the conference, and only the delegation led by Mr. Tep Phorn under the leadership of King Sihanouk was allowed to represent Cambodia in the conference. The Geneva Peace Accord required all foreign troops completely withdrawn from Cambodia especially the French and the Vietminh troops. While the French finally handed over independence to Khmer and withdrew their troops, Vietminh troops entrenched themselves into the jungle in order fight the new independent government led by Prime Minister Yem Sambo. But King Sihanouk lodged a complain with the international community and led the Cambodian Armed Forces to dislodge all those Vietminh troops from the country successfully. Since then, Khmer people had become owners of their destination until 1979 when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in the third time. It was a coincidence when Hanoi sent its troops to recover its loss from the Geneva Conference and its failed campaign in early 1970s to support the Khmer Rouge against the Khmer Republic, instead Vietnam found itself as a rescuer for Cambodian people from the Pol Pot's Killing Field.
During the Geneva Conference, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai clashed with Ho Chi Minh, whom he had helped to win the battle of Dian Bien Phu, over independence and neutrality of the three countries in Indochina. Ho Chi Minh wanted Indochina as a single federation state while Zhou Enlai preferred individual independent state in Indochina. China merely wanted to help Vietnam gained independence from France, and it never intended to help Vietnam ruled over Indochina or became stronger and greater in the future. As Premier Zhou held tons of leverage in the conference, Ho Chi Minh's plan of Indochina Federation fell apart; Ho Chi Minh not only lost Cambodia and half of Laos but also half of his own country. Although Ho Chi Minh's Indochina Federation plan failed in Geneva Conference, his political and territorial ambitions of Greater Vietnam has gone through hearts and minds of new Vietnamese leaders: during 1973 Paris Peace Conference , a head of the Vietnamese Delegation, Le Duc Tho reiterated to the Secretary of State Kissinger that Vietnam still wanted to rule over Indochina. During the Vietnamese occupation in Cambodia from 1979-89, Foreign Minister Ngynh Cho Thac claimed, " the situation in Cambodia is irreversible." And this slogan was echoed throughout Cambodia via the state run media in the 1980s. Hitherto, such a claim is proven by the continuous situation in Cambodia; no matter what, Hanoi still indirectly rules Cambodia through its proxy CPP.
After the Geneva Peace Agreement, King Sihanouk and Khmer people chased Vietminh troops out of the country, but after Paris Peace Accord, Hun Sen hid Vietnamese troops, their secret agents, and allowed Vietnamese illegal immigrants moved into the country freely. So far, Vietnam has systematically controlled Cambodia via its proxy regime. All Khmer should stand up unifying with Cambodian Rescue Party (CNRP) the most viable force which is struggling to bring true independence, full national sovereignty, and democracy to the nation and the people. Wherever we live, as Khmer, we have owed our motherland a duty to protect and to rescue her from all imminent threats of demise.