Thursday, 23 May 2019
OPINION

Vietnam and the legitimacy of a war

Updated at Monday, 07 Jan 2019, 15:44
The Hanoitimes - “What would have happened if Vietnam had not helped to liberate Cambodian from genocidal regime? Would anyone help them?”
Over 10 years living and working in Cambodia, Nguyen Huy Tang, standing vice chairman of the Central Committee of External Relations, has had very deep impressions on Cambodia with Ang-kor wat, Ang-kor Thom temples and Tonle Sap Lake.
The vast majority of Cambodians are Buddhist so in Tang's eyes, Cambodian are always cheerful, honest, kind and who have desire about a peaceful and happy life. Those people, 40 years ago, had to experience a terrible genocide on the homeland where they were born and were nurtured.
Mr Nguyen Huy Tang
Mr Nguyen Huy Tang
 “I have wondered many times that if Vietnam had not helped to liberate Cambodian from genocidal regime, would anyone save them? And if Khmer Rouge had existed for a few more years, what would have happened in Cambodia? Would the Khmer nation be perished?” Tang said.
Fortunately, this tragedy did not happen thanks to the help from Vietnam. Four decades have passed, the world has changed and the political life and international relations have also evolved. But according to Tang, looking back to the Southwest border defense war with the historic victory on January 7, 1979, it is absolutely legitimate and rightful when the Vietnamese military and civilian people exercised their right to self-defense and defeat the Khmer Rouge with an aim to safeguard Vietnam’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the same time, Tang emphasized the legitimacy and humanity of Vietnamese voluntary soldiers in rescuing the Cambodian people from the genocidal regime.
Shortly thereafter, in the context that Cambodia still faced numerous difficulties and hardships as a result of prolonged war, the country also was surrounded and embargoed by hostile countries, led by the US. Vietnam still devoted its limited resources to help Cambodians to escape from starvation, restore the devastated social institutions and prevent the return of the Khmer Rouge. The miraculous revival happened in Cambodia with the support of volunteer soldiers from Vietnam. In order for Cambodians to lead a normal life, thousands of voluntary soldiers from Vietnam had shed their blood and even lost their lives.
Tang said, perhaps, stemming from the solidarity between neighbors, the shared commitment to struggle against common enemies for independence of the two nations, Vietnam could not turn its back on Cambodia’s misfortune.
Today, although there are still voices against Vietnam's actions, helping Cambodian to escape genocidal regime is always an act of humanism. Certainly, the great majority of Cambodians and progressive people in the world have supported and shown their deep gratitude for Vietnam.
“I believe that after the ups and downs of history, undergoing a dark period of the Khmer Rouge during 3 years, 8 months and 20 days, Cambodia will learn its lessons deeply to rise up and successfully build an independent, peaceful, liberal, democratic, neutral and social progress Cambodia. Cambodia is also the good friend with all countries, first of all are neighboring countries, including Vietnam ”, Tang shared.
Forty years after the victory on January 7, 1979, the friendship and co-operation between Vietnam and Cambodia has been strengthened by generations of leaders and people of the two countries, bringing benefits to both countries. Over the past years, the two sides have regularly exchanged high-level delegations, officials from ministries, sectors and localities as well as people to promote the long-standing friendship and comprehensive cooperation in a deeper, more efficient and reliable manner.
Last year, the two sides exchanged issues relating to bilateral cooperation at international conferences such as the second Mekong-Lancang Co-operation (MLC) Summit in Phnom Penh in January as well as the sixth Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS-6) Summit and the 10th Cambodia-Laos-Viet Nam Development Triangle Summit (CLV-10) in Hanoi in March.
Phuong Truong
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