Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers Congress (Marxist-Leninist)

Denounce Vietnamese Aggression

Support Kampuchean Resistance


First Published: The Communist, Vol. V, No. 5, January 22, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Vietnam’s naked aggression against Kampuchea and the Kampuchean people reached a new level with the capture of the capital city at Phnom Penh on Jan. 7. After a 16 day full scale armed invasion involving over 100,000 troops and heavy aerial bombing, the Vietnamese are now claiming control over “almost all” of Kampuchea.

Under cover of their puppet organization, the “Kampuchean National United Front for National Salvation” formed less than one month before the invasion, the Vietnamese claim that they have rallied the Kampuchean people behind their leadership.

Yet despite their claims of widespread popular support, resistance to the Vietnamese invaders continues to be fierce throughout the country. Fighting is reportedly heavy at the country’s only deep water port at Kompong Som and several islands northwest of it. The Kampuchean army still remains in control of the provincial capital at Pursat, 100 miles northwest of Phnom Penh. In addition heavy fighting continues in Battambang, northwest Kampuchea’s major city, Sisophon 30 miles east of the Thai border and at Nimit 13 miles from the frontier.

These examples of resistance reflect the heroic revolutionary spirit of the Kampuchean people. As our Chinese comrades state, “The capture of Phnom Penh by the Vietnamese does not mean the end but the beginning of the war.” As is evident the Kampuchean Revolutionary Army and people under the leadership of the Kampuchean Communist Party (CPK) are already actively waging a people’s war. While the Vietnamese control the towns, the Kampuchean army remains strong in most of the countryside enjoying the full support of the people. Ieng Sary, Deputy Prime Minister of Kampuchea, speaking in Peking said that Kampuchea would continue fighting even though its army was heavily outnumbered by the Vietnamese. “We do not have so big an army but we have the people with us,” he said. “We will take the weapons we need from the Vietnamese. An aggressor is never strong.”


Vietnam’s naked aggression against Kampuchea was immediately condemned worldwide. China’s Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping denounced the invasion accusing Vietnam of “towering crimes” and of acting as a surrogate of the Soviet Union in its expansionist strategic plan. Thai Premier Kriangsak called for a special meeting of the five member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The invasion of Kampuchea poses a particular threat to the sovereignty of Thailand which shares a common 500 mile border with Kampuchea. The Vietnamese have already reportedly struck within Thai territory twice in their efforts to “wipe out” any resistance. Japan has said it will freeze its economic pledge to Vietnam to protest its aggression. Romania too denounced the military takeover, calling it “a heavy blow for the prestige of socialism”.

In an effort to rally this worldwide support to the defense of Kampuchea, Prime Minister Pol Pot requested that former head of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk fly to the UN to seek international relief. In route to the UN Sihanouk gave a lengthy press conference in Peking. Appearing in Peking’s Great Hall of the People on Jan. 7, Sihanouk reaffirmed his commitment to defend Democratic Kampuchea from all outside aggression and called on people throughout the world to denounce the joint Soviet-Vietnam invasion.

While the US bourgeois media trumped up his differences with the CPK over domestic issues, the essence of his comments were his full support of the CPK in their common struggle to defend Kampuchea. Sihanouk stated, “I will support Pol Pot. He symbolizes my country. I will support his regime, I will continue to support his policy for national independence.”

After arriving in New York to present Kampuchea’s case to the UN Sihanouk further commented that “It is no longer a question of political differences or human rights, but a question of whether Cambodia (Kampuchea) shall disappear from the map, to become a province of the Vietnamese imperialists and their masters.”


Over strong opposition by the Soviet Union, Sihanouk spoke at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Jan. 11. There he appealed to the Council to adopt a resolution demanding the withdrawal of Vietnamese forces and the cessation of Vietnamese interference in his country. After four days of debate where the Chinese representative Chen Chu played a leading role in exposing the joint Soviet-Vietnamese aggressors, the Council voted on Jan. 15th, by 13-2, in favor of a resolution demanding “foreign forces” leave Cambodia. The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia were the only two countries opposing the resolution.

While the resolution itself is a compromise in the sense that the Vietnamese were not mentioned by name, the overwhelming support that the Kampuchean people received from the UN is a clear victory for them and for all freedom loving people. It reflects the increasing isolation of the Soviet Union and Vietnam in the eyes of the world as the so-called champions of the oppressed.


The Vietnamese would like for us to believe that their “victory” was the result of the support they received from the Kampuchean people themselves under the leadership of their phony united front. This front however has already been exposed throughout the world as a Hanoi backed puppet organization composed mostly of Vietnamese and a handful of Kampuchean counter-revolutionaries.

Speaking in Peking Sihanouk said,

Who are the leaders of the so called front? They are perfectly unknown to the Kampuchean people. Who is Heng Samrin? I don’t know him. Even the Vietnamese confess that the so-called front was founded one month ago. How can you have such a terrible army, with big artillery in only one month? You must be good mathematicians to be able to use such guns.

The real reason the Vietnamese were able to overrun the country was because of the direct military support Vietnam received from its partners in Moscow. According to the Kampuchean embassy in Peking the Vietnamese have been receiving vast quantities of military aid from Moscow. The Soviets dispatched hundreds of tanks, artillery units, MIG jet fighters and infantry units into Kampuchea to support the Vietnamese offensive. Several of the MIG’s shot down by the Kampucheans were reportedly flown by Soviet pilots.


The bourgeois media in this country attempts to portray Vietnamese aggression against Kampuchea as a so-called “proxy war” between China and the Soviet Union, citing Chinese support of Kampuchea and Soviet support of Vietnam. The character and reasons behind each of their support however is fundamentally different. China’s support is based on defending Kampuchea’s right to national sovereignty and territorial integrity, while Soviet support of Vietnam is part and parcel of its world hegemonist plans and has nothing in common with national independence. For at the heart of the matter is Kampuchea’s right to exist as an independent nation free from all outside interference and aggression and free to determine its own political fate. To call the Soviet backed Vietnamese invasion a proxy war between China and the Soviet Union ignores the basic fact that the independence of Kampuchea has been completely violated by the invaders.

Kampuchea is the undeniable victim of aggression. It is a small country of 8 million people ravaged by years of war and heavy bombing by US imperialism. There is little industry or military build-up to speak of. There were no foreign soldiers on Kampuchean soil and Kampuchea posed no military threat to any of its neighbors. The main task of the people under the leadership of the CPK was to defend their newly won independence and rebuild their country based on socialist principles.

Within this context the Chinese gave their firm support to the people of Democratic Kampuchea in their struggle to defend their independence and territorial integrity from all outside aggression. In similar fashion the Chinese supported both the Kampuchean and Vietnamese people in their protracted struggle against US imperialism. China’s support is consistent with defending the national sovereignty of all countries, threatened by aggression and is a concrete example of unity between third world countries in the face of hegemony.

Vietnam on the other hand is the undeniable aggressor. It is a country of 50 million people with a massive military capability left over from its struggle with US imperialism. In addition, the conclusion last month of the so-called treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union gave Vietnam the full military backing of the Soviets.

Vietnam has long entertained the notion of creating an Indochina Federation, eventually hoping to control the entire region. Kampuchea has been an obstacle in this drive for regional hegemony. Since the liberation of Vietnam, the leaders in Hanoi have turned their attention to Kampuchea combining internal political subversion with outside aggression in their efforts to topple Kampuchea’s legitimate government.

Soviet support of this Vietnamese aggression fits neatly into its own plans for world hegemony. Taking advantage of the regional hegemonist plans of the Vietnamese, the Soviets have given their full blessing to this aggression against Kampuchea in order to prop up their own position in this strategic region.


The invasion of Kampuchea once again reflects the fact that the Soviet Union is the main danger to war today. In its bid for world hegemony with US imperialism, Soviet social imperialism is stepping up its war preparations on an ever broader scale. Their recent partnership with Vietnam in particular poses a real threat to the peace and security of Southeast Asia and the world as a whole. The Soviet Pacific Fleet now has free use of all of Vietnam’s ports. In addition they are reportedly using the strategically located base at Cam Ranh Bay.

In their statement to the UN the Chinese point out the Soviet military threat,

If Vietnam’s aggressive ambition should be fulfilled, not only would the Indochinese peoples be subjected to enslavement and all Southeast Asian countries faced with direct threat from the Soviet Union and Vietnam, but the Soviet Union would be enabled to link up its drive for hegemony in the Pacific with that in the Indian Ocean, thus seriously endangering the peace, security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole.


The Kampuchean people’s just struggle against the Soviet-backed Vietnamese aggression deserves the full support of people the world over. Their determined struggle is a component part of the worldwide united front against superpower hegemony. Kampuchea’s efforts to resist this aggression defends not only its own independence but the peace and security of the rest of Southeast Asia as well.

We call on all people to join us in defending Kampuchea’s right to national sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and demanding a stop to Vietnamese and Soviet aggression. The Kampuchean people have a heroic history of resistance in their struggle against both French and US imperialism. They have much experience in waging a people’s war, and though their struggle may be arduous and protracted, we are fully confident in their final victory.