Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Behind the Indochina Fighting

First Published: The Call, Vol. 7, No. 27, July 10, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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As many as 70,000 Vietnamese troops have launched a new invasion into Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia), according to numerous reports in the world press.

The Wall Street Journal said June 29 that “70,000 Vietnamese troops on both sides of the border may be involved in the attack, which is backed by tanks and planes.” The article went on to speculate that Vietnam was trying to “tie up Cambodia’s rubber industry” and even “topple the Phnom Penh government.”

George McArthur, writing for the Los Angeles Times, added that Vietnam was carrying out air strikes against Kampuchea using “captured American F-5 jets frequently dropping the ’cluster bombs’ that were widely condemned by American opponents of the Vietnam War.”

The external pressure on Kampuchea is linked to Vietnamese attempts at subversion from within. In a June 24 press conference broadcast by the Voice of Democratic Kampuchea, Deputy Prime Minister leng Sary detailed a Vietnamese plot to stage a coup d’etat in Kampuchea that was thwarted in late May. Sary said that “the government of Democratic Kampuchea has evidence to clearly show that the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam instigated the coup.”

leng Sary went on to list the names of six Vietnamese who had been sent into Kampuchea to foment the coup. If a nationwide coup proved impossible, the Vietnamese planned to seize the eastern zone of the country, Sary said. From there, they would “declare a new regime and a new party” which would work for the eventual overthrow of the national Kampuchean government. These plans, leng Sary stressed, were all frustrated, as other attempted coups have been in the past.

From all these reports, it is dear that Vietnam is intensifying the aggression against Kampuchea which first broke out into the open with last December’s invasion. Successive Vietnamese invasions in February and April were repelled by the Revolutionary Army of Kampuchea.

The Vietnamese side has rejected a four-point proposal issued by Kampuchea on May 15, which would set the basis for peaceful discussion and negotiations of problems between the two countries. The four points called for a halt to Vietnamese aggression, an end to Vietnamese subversion inside Kampuchea, abandoning the concept of an “Indochina Federation,” which would put Kampuchea under Vietnam’s domination, and respecting Kampuchea’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Vietnamese side has not only rejected this proposal in words, but has continued to violate all four points in deeds.

For those of us who are viewing this conflict from the United States, it is tragic to see these two revolutionary third world countries which were once so closely linked in common struggle against imperialism now so deeply divided. We must ask ourselves what really lies behind this conflict.

True, there are long-standing differences between Vietnam and Kampuchea, including quite a long record of Vietnamese big-nation chauvinism towards Kampuchea. But there is an aggravating force at work in the region – Soviet social-imperialism.

The last month has provided some insight into the Soviet Union’s role in Vietnam. Last week, for example, Vietnam became a full member of COMECON, the Soviet-controlled economic organization made up principally of Soviet satellite countries.

Furthermore, in addition to the heavy military presence of the USSR in Vietnam (5.000 troops and advisers), Hong Kong newspapers reported last month that the USSR was building a missile base in Vietnam’s central highlands and pressing for a naval base at Cam Ranh Bay, Additionally, Vietnam has been trying to get other Asian countries to support a scheme very similar to the Soviet Union’s “collective security” arrangement, which has long been exposed as a cover for Soviet hegemony in the region.

All these developments indicate wide-spread and growing influence in Vietnam by the Soviet social-imperialists, who desire to dominate Kampuchea as well. Such domination is clearly not in the interests of the people of either Kampuchea or Vietnam. There have been many cases of Vietnamese people speaking out against the government’s aggressive role in Kampuchea and on other matters where the Soviet Union has obviously influenced Vietnamese policy.

As for Kampuchea, it has repeatedly expressed its desire to live in peace and friendship with Vietnam and all its neighbors. But in the face of open aggression and subversion, the Kampuchean government, army, Party and people have no choice but to fight. Having defeated French colonialism and U.S. imperialism, Kampuchea is determined that no power, big or small, will ever dominate it again.