Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party, Established June 28, 1951 (Part 2)
On September 28-30, 1960, the Communist Party of Cambodia People’s Party Congress secretly met in a room in Phnom Penh train station. The General Assembly decided to reorganize the party’s leadership, set up a new political path, and renamed the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party to the Khmer Workers’ Party, and Tou Samouth was elected as the party’s secretary and Nuon Chea as deputy secretary.
After the dissolution of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in 1962, on February 20 and 21, 1963, the Khmer National Workers’ Party elected Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) to be secretary of the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party, NUON Chea and Vorn Vet were ousted from their positions. Sieu Heng had already betrayed the movement and become a government informer.
From then on, Pol Pot and loyal comrades from his Paris student days controlled the party center, edging out older veterans whom they considered excessively pro-Vietnamese.
In May 1963, Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, and a number of Khmer Kampuchea-Cambodian Workers’ Party leaders fled into the jungle along Vietnam’s border, far from Sihanouk’s military forces who by now were hunting a list of known communists.
In June 1965, Pol Pot and Keo Meas traveled to Hanoi to hold talks with North Vietnamese leaders including Ho Chi Minh and visited China and North Korea. After returning, Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) changed the name of the Workers’ Party of Kampuchea to the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK).
From 1966 to 1970, the Communist Party of Kampuchea’s main resistance base was in Ratanakkiri province, and Prince Sihanouk named the persecutors: The Khmer Rouge.
After the coup on March 18, 1970, Prince Sihanouk united with the Khmer Rouge, set up a National United Front and Government in Exile from Beijing to overthrow the coup leaders. With assistance from the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops, the royal-communist alliance (GRUNK) began to control more territory across the provinces. In 1973, the Khmer Rouge were stronger, and demanded the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops leave Cambodia.
After the victory on April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge leaders believed that the Vietnamese communists had never given up the idea of establishing an Indochinese federation with Vietnam as the dominant leader.
On May 1, 1975, the first major clash between the two former allies came after Khmer Rouge troops attacked the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc, which was claimed as part of the Cambodian territory.
9 days later, on May 10, 1975, the Khmer Rouge troops continued their offensive against the Thổ Chu islands and killed 500 Vietnamese. Vietnamese troops attacked and repelled Khmer Rouge forces and also conquered Cambodia’s Koh Poulo Wai Island.
In June 1975, during a visit to Hanoi, Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot asked Vietnam to sign a treaty of friendship and begin discussions about border disputes. But the proposals did not come into being, and Pol Pot’s leadership claimed that Vietnam had rejected the proposal. In August 1975, Vietnam returned Koh Poulo Wai Island to Cambodia and officially recognized Cambodia’s sovereignty over the island.
On April 30, 1977, the 2nd anniversary of the Vietnamese Communist victory in Saigon (Prey Nokor), Khmer Rouge forces launched an offensive against An Giang province and Chao Doc province, killing hundreds of Vietnamese civilians.
Vietnamese troops responded and dug in on the Cambodian border. On June 7, 1977, Vietnam proposed a high-level dialogue to discuss the issue. On June 18, 1977, the Khmer Rouge leaders responded by demanding that Vietnam withdraw all its troops from the border area and establish a demilitarized zone.
In September 1977, Khmer Rouge forces shot dead six villages in Dong Thap province along the border and infiltrated the army troops. Later, the Khmer Rouge leaders ordered six army units to launch attacks on Tay Ninh province, killing more than 1,000 Vietnamese people.
Eight Vietnamese military divisions, with nearly 60,000 forces, launched a retaliatory assault on Cambodia. On December 16, 1977, the Vietnamese division, with the help of the Air Force, launched several cross-border attacks into Cambodian territory, in several attempts to force the government to negotiate.
At the end of December 1977, Vietnam invaded Svay Rieng province stopping a short distance from the provincial capital.
On 31 December 1977, Khieu Samphan announced that the Democratic Kampuchea Government would break diplomatic relations with Vietnam until Vietnamese troops pulled back from a proposed demilitarized zone on the border of Democratic Kampuchea.
The Kampuchean government boasted that the Vietnamese withdrawal was a major victory for Democratic Kampuchea, comparing it to the “defeat of U.S. imperialism” on 17 April 1975. The Kampucheans went on further to proclaim that “our 6 January victory over the annexationist, Vietnamese aggressor enemy has given all of us greater confidence in the forces of our people and nation, in our Kampuchean Communist Party and our Kampuchean Revolutionary Army, and in our Party’s line of people’s war”.
The Kampuchean leadership claimed that one Kampuchean soldier was equal to 30 Vietnamese soldiers, so if Kampuchea could raise two million soldiers from a population of eight million, it could wipe out Vietnam’s population of 50 million and still have six million people left. In reality, Kampuchean leaders simply ignored the condition of the population in their own country and Vietnam; the Vietnamese, though poor, were in good physical condition, while Kampuchea’s population was physically and mentally exhausted from years of hard labour, starvation, and disease.
In addition to the disparity in population, there was also a great disparity between the fighting capabilities of the armed forces of the two countries. In 1977, Vietnam was estimated to have 615,000 soldiers and 900 tanks, supported by a 12,000-member air force with 300 combat aircraft, including one squadron of light bombers. In comparison, Kampuchea had an army of 70,000, only a few heavy tanks, 200 armoured vehicles, and limited air capability.
Despite facing such heavy odds, Kampuchea showed no signs of hesitation as its military continued to assault Vietnam’s border regions. In January 1978, Kampuchean forces still held portions of Vietnamese territory and began overrunning Vietnamese outposts in Hà Tiên Province.
On 27 January 1978, Vietnam started calling on the Kampuchean military along the border regions to overthrow the Khmer Rouge regime.
From January 9 to February 20, 1978, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Phan Hien traveled several times to Beijing to hold talks with representatives of the Democratic Kampuchea Government, but ultimately failed. On January 18, 1978, China tried to reconcile further negotiations between Cambodia and Vietnam, sending Deng Ying to Phnom Penh but failed to control the Khmer Rouge leadership.
Up to 20,000 Chinese military advisers were believed to be in the country at the time.
On April 12, 1978, Phnom Penh declared that it and Vietnam could negotiate again if Vietnam abandoned its expansionist ambitions and recognized Cambodia’s sovereignty. However, there was also a pre-condition requiring Vietnam to meet several obligations through a seven-month trial ceasefire. The Vietnamese government immediately rejected the demand.
In response to this rebuttal, the Khmer Rouge leaders ordered two divisions to launch attacks into Vietnamese territory and massacred more than 3,000 Vietnamese people in Baichou village in An Giang province, a few kilometres inside Vietnamese territory.
By now, internal purges of the leaders of the Eastern Division by Phnom Penh command had led to many defections of top commanders across the border, including current National Assembly president Heng Samrin.
In June 1978, the Vietnamese Air Force launched a series of bombardments of Cambodian sites across the border by flying about 30 bomb sorties a day.
By the end of June, Vietnamese forces had assembled more units to launch another targeted campaign against the Khmer. Once, the Vietnamese pushed back Khmer Rouge forces back to Suong and Prey Veng.
After Vietnamese troops withdrew, Khmer Rouge artillery was brought back to the border and once again began shelling Vietnamese villages.
During the second half of 1978, Vietnamese leaders reduced their military campaign against the Khmer Rouge, seeking help from the Soviet Union.
In October 1978, Vietnam Radio reported that there were instances of anti-Khmer insurgency in Cambodia, which was urging many Cambodian troops into Vietnam to struggle to overthrow the “Pol Pot-Ieng Sary clique”.
In November 1978, a command was set up for the invasion of Cambodia, which had already been drafted. Lieutenant General Le Duc Anh was placed charge of managing Vietnam’s military units along the border with Cambodia. 10 brigades are deployed along the borders of Long An (Quy Nhon), Dong Thap and Tay Ninh provinces.
On December 2, 1978, the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) was established in Snuol district of Kratie, with Heng Samrin, the former commander of the 4th Division of the East Zone.
On December 25, 1978, Vietnam launched an invasion of 13 divisions, with about 150,000 supported by heavy artillery and air force.
On January 7, 1979, the Vietnamese army along with the KUF troops conquered Phnom Penh and established the Republic of Kampuchea with Heng Samrin as the President of the Council of State.
At the same time, Kampuchea People’s Revolutionary Party, which was originally established on June 28, 1951, was brought back with Pen Sovann, General Secretary and Prime Minister.
Son Ngoc Minh and Tuo Samouth, former leaders of the KPRP were considered heroes.
Following the Paris Peace Accord on October 23, 1991, the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kampuchea changed its name to the Cambodian People’s Party, with Samdech Heng Samrin, General Secretary, Samdech Chea Sim as President and Samdech Hun Sen as Vice-President.
Part One available HERE
From Wikipedia/Brittania and KBN
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