INTRODUCTION: Cambodia's Communist rulers have been taken the first steps towards bringing their country, isolated since 1975, back into contact with the outside world.
INTRODUCTION: Cambodia's Communist rulers have been taken the first steps towards bringing their country, isolated since 1975, back into contact with the outside world. Two weeks ago, Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr Ieng Sary, paid an officials visit to Thailand. He's now followed up that trip visits to Singapore and Malaysia.
SYNOPSIS: On arrival in Singapore, Mr Sary was greeted by the Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Sinnathamby Rajaratnam. The visit to Singapore came as a surprise to western diplomats because of the strong anti-communist line taken by Singaporean Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. His touch measures against Communists and other political opponents in Singapore led to his country's expulsion from the Socialist International.
However, after the United States withdrawal from Vietnam, Mr Lee adopted a conciliatory policy towards Communist governments in South East Asia. Diplomatic relations were established in May of last year; but this was the first time Mr Lee had talks with a high officials of the Cambodian Government.
The next stop for Mr Sary was the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. On arrival there he was greeted by the Malaysian Foreign Minister, Tunku Ahmad Rithauddeen. As with Singapore, such contacts served to emphasise a new attitude in Cambodian foreign affairs. For Malaysian security forces have clashed frequently with Thai based Communist guerrillas raising fears of a renewed war by the insurgents seeking a Communist Malaysia.
The talks between Mr Sary and the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein bib onn, centred on relations between their two countries. Malaysian officials indicated the question of Malaysian security with Mr Sary but no formal statement was made on the issue.