The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia were defeated on January 7, 1979, and Cambodia was completely liberated from the most brutal regime of the 20th century with the help of the Vietnamese people, a symbol of solidarity and loyalty between the two countries.
Archive photo: On January 7, 1979, Cambodian revolutionary armed forces and Vietnamese volunteer soldiers advanced to liberate Phnom Penh. (photo: VNA)
In December 1978, in response to an appeal from the Cambodian United Front for National Salvation, Vietnamese civilians and soldiers joined with the Cambodian armed forces to overthrow the Khmer Rouge, liberate Cambodia, end the darkest period in Cambodia’s history, and open a new era of independence, freedom, democracy, and social advancement.
Vietnam helps Cambodia revive
After the liberation, Vietnam helped Cambodia form a new government and consolidate local administrative power, sending experts to assist reconstruction and prevent a return of the genocidal regime.
According to Cambodia’s Development and Peace Institute, Cambodia’s economy was totally destroyed under the Pol Pot-Ieng Sary regime. There was neither market nor trade, currency, nor any economic activity – only torture and killing. The Zero Year in Cambodia ended and the country began anew in 1979.
Despite its numerous difficulties, Vietnam provided Cambodia with material support and helped the country in politics, law, and diplomacy. In 20 years, Vietnam completed its strategic mission of helping Cambodia eliminate the Khmer Rouge, bringing peace and development to the Cambodian people, and establishing good relations with other countries.
Cambodia joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1999. Vietnam helped Cambodia to obtain prosperity, peace, independence, and self-reliance. Bilateral relations were based on mutual understanding and respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
Noble international spirit and responsibility with human beings
Each year, at celebrations of Cambodia’s liberation, at meetings of leaders, and at people’s exchanges, Cambodia expresses its gratitude towards the Vietnamese Party, State, people, and volunteer soldiers. Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hunsen often says Vietnam’s tremendous merit is indelibly written in Cambodia’s history.
Although there have been various accounts of the war in Cambodia, the historical events have been brought to light. It’s undeniable that the noble sacrifice of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers helped Cambodia escape a genocidal regime. A 1990 article in the Chicago Tribune described Vietnam’s role in ending the Khmer Rouge’s brutality, overthrowing Pol Pot and his barbarous rule.
The Australian magazine Canberra said in March 1989 that the Vietnamese army entering Cambodia in December 1978 had a dramatic effect. The Cambodian people welcomed them to liberate the county. It became obvious that the Khmer Rouge could not return to Phnom Penh because of the Vietnamese presence.
Recently, a UN-backed tribunal called the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) found former regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan guilty of genocide.
The UN advocates for a world of peace, humanity, and harmony. Vietnam performed a noble act to save a nation from genocide, and bring them peace, independence, and self-reliance.