The first day of the United Nations' General Assembly debate on the future of Kampuchea on Monday (12 November) was marked by heated exchanges between the Vietnamese and Chinese delegates.
LV Vietnamese Permanent Representative to the United Nations Havan Lau addressing General Assembly in French as delegates listen (3 shots)
GV General Assembly delegates
LV Deposed Kampuchean Pol Pot Permanent Representative Thiounn Prasith addressing Assembly in French
GV General Assembly
LV Chinese Permanent Representative to U.N., Chen Chu addressing Assembly in Chinese
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Background: The first day of the United Nations' General Assembly debate on the future of Kampuchea on Monday (12 November) was marked by heated exchanges between the Vietnamese and Chinese delegates. A representative of Kampuchea's Heng Samrin government was not allowed to take part in the debate -- since the United Nations still recognises the administration of Pol Pot which was overthrown by Heng Samrin Samrin's Vietnamese-backed forces early this year.
SYNOPSIS: Vietnam's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Havan Lau, responded to accusations from China and members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) of Vietnamese aggression in Kampuchea. He said that Vietnam had not threatened the peace of the area by its involvement in Kampuchea and had no intention of interfering in the internal affairs of neighbouring Thailand. A draft resolution initiated by ASEAN and several Western European, African and South American countries had expressed concern that the present conflict between the forces of the Heng Samrin government and Chinese-backed supporters of the ousted Pol Pot administration within Kampuchea, could spill into Thailand.
Mr. Havan Lau said the only threat to the stability of South East Asia came from China. He accused all supporters of the resolution calling for the withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Kampuchea of being "accomplices" of the Peking government. He said it was imperative that the General Assembly recognise the threat posed by China and counter Peking policy towards South East Asia, which he described as aggressive. Mr. Havan Lau submitted his delegation's resolution to the Assembly which called on all member states to refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Kampuchea.
Thiounn Prasith, the representative of the ousted government of Pol Pot, stressed that his delegation was primarily concerned in helping the people suffering in Kampuchea and avoiding a full-scale war in the country which he said would affect the entire world. He called on the United Nations to mobilise all its efforts to ensure that aid supplied by international relief agencies reached all the needy people in Kampuchea including supporters of the deposed Pol Pot government. Before the debate began, the representative of the Heng Samrin Government, Keo Praseth -- the Kampuchean Ambassador to Moscow -- told newsmen that any resolution adopted by the General Assembly would be meaningless since he had not been allowed to participate in the debate.
The Chinese representative, Chen Chu, repeated the condemnation of Vietnam included in the draft resolution proposed by the Asean countries. He called for the immediate withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Kampuchea and the drawing up of United Nations resolutions to condemn Vietnam's involvement in Kampuchea. The dispute between the various factions concerned in Kampuchea dominated the debate. Eventually the Indian delegation proposed that a conference should be set up to discuss Indochina as a whole in an attempt to reduce tensions in the area.