Vietnam’s top diplomat has asked the Singaporean government to make “proper adjustment” after the island state’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a controversial statement on Vietnam’s military involvement in Cambodia four decades ago.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh hold phones talks with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on June 7. Photo: MOFA
In telephone talks on June 7 afternoon with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh stressed that Lee’s remarks have caused negative reactions, especially in the context that the Cambodian people recently earlier this year celebrated the 40th anniversary of their escape from the Pol Pot genocidal regime and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) issued a verdict on the crime against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge.
The Vietnamese diplomat affirmed that the rightness of Vietnam’s involvement as well as the huge contributions and sacrifices by the Vietnamese volunteer troops, who helped Cambodia out of genocide, contributed to peace, stability and development of the region.
Tensions rose earlier this week after Vietnam’s foreign affairs ministry opposed Lee’s use of “invasion” and “occupation” to refer to Vietnam’s action to oust the Khmer Rouge and install a new government.
In a Facebook post on Thursday night, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen accused Lee of supporting the Pol Pot-led regime, which killed between 2 and 3 million people between 1975 and early 1979.
During the phone talks with Minh, Vivian Balakrishnan affirmed his country attaches great importance to the strategic partnership with Vietnam and said Lee’s remarks were not meant to hurt Vietnam and Cambodia, according to a statement of the Vietnamese foreign ministry.
The two diplomats agreed to continue consolidating the Vietnam – Singapore relations and to strengthen the solidarity and unity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).