This Day In History: Founding Of FUNSK

The Kampuchea (or Khmer) United Front for National Salvation (Khmer: រណសិរ្សសាមគ្គីសង្គ្រោះជាតិកម្ពុជា; KUFNS), often simply referred to as Salvation Front or by its French acronym FUNSK (Front Uni National pour le Salut du Kampuchéa), was the nucleus of a new Cambodian regime that would later topple the Khmer Rouge and establish the People’s Republic of Kampuchea (PRK).

Its foundation took place on 2 December 1978 in Kratié Province near the border with Vietnam at a meeting of seventy dissident Cambodians determined to overthrow Pol Pot’s government. Heng Samrin was voted as leader of the front and within a few weeks its influence spread widely on both sides of the border.

 The front was a heterogeneous Cambodian politico-military organization that legitimized the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, precipitating the ensuing defeat of the Khmer Rouge’s Democratic Kampuchea. It brought about the foundation of the new state named ‘People’s Republic of Kampuchea’ and the reconstruction of the shattered and desperately impoverished country. This organization has undergone various name changes as it has expanded and adapted to the different historical realities in Cambodia.

The date of the Salvation Front’s foundation was December 2, 1978, in what Khmer socialist militants called a “Reunion Congress”.

 The aim of the FUNSK was to expand as a Cambodian front in order to overthrow Pol Pot’s regime of terror. The Salvation Front drew eleven points for the reconstruction of the country. These points would be used after the establishment of the PRK to motivate Cambodians to support the rebuilding efforts and the pro-Soviet structure of the new state to keep the revolution alive with a moderate, pragmatic and humane approach compared to the Khmer Rouge.

Although the front was largely controlled by KPRP communists, it included quite a few non-communists in its leadership, such as Cambodian Buddhist religious figures, as well as women.

The Central Committee of FUNSK at its foundation was then made up of 15 individuals with Heng Samrin as Chairman, Chea Sim as vice president, Ros Samay as secretary general. Revolutionary People’s Council decreed on January 8, 1979: Heng Samrin (Chairman), Vice Chairman: Pen Sovan. Headed by Heng Samrin, Revolutionary People’s Council of Kampuchea includes Hun Sen (Foreign Affairs), Keo Chenda (Culture and Information), Mot Sakun (Economy), Chea Sim (Interior), Pen Sovan (Defense), Nu Beng (Health and Social Affairs), and Chan Ven (Education).


December 2 monument, Kratie.
The KUFNS revived the flag adopted by the Khmer Issarak in the days of anti-French resistance, declaring it the flag of the PRK.

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