23 March 2013

Cambodia: This Day in History

23rd March, 1970

Sihanouk announced in Peking that he had formed a coalition- The National United Front of Kampuchea (FUNK)- with former enemies the Khmer Rouge, to fight against the Lon Nol government.

Sihanouk and Chinese Premier, Zhou Enlai

Back in China after Lon Nol and Sirik Matak's coup, Sihanouk came under pressure from both People's Republic of China's  Premier, Zhou En-lai and North Vietnam's Premier, Pham Van Ong to fight back against his ousters.

Sihanouk quickly agreed, no doubt spurred by rage, vanity and a thirst for revenge, and he joined with the Khmer Rogue and a rag-bag collection of Lon Nol's enemies to oppose the new Cambodian government.

Sihanouk of course was of great value-at least in the short term- to the communists, such was his standing, most notably in the countryside, with many Cambodians.

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