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   KING IN COMMUNIST CHIN : THE EXILE OF KING NORODOM SIH NOUK OF C MBODI IN CHIN 1970-197 Seminar at the Centre for Southeast sian Studies of Monash University by mbassador Julio . Jeldres djunct Research Fellow at Monash sia Institute and Official Biographer of HM the King Father Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia 24 September 2009 ----------------------------------------   At this Seminar I would like to share the results so far of my research on the period the former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia spent in exile in China from 18 March 1970 to 9 September 1975. Before proceeding may I point out that regarding Chinese names and places during this Seminar, I will follow the modern Pinyin system of transliteration, except in the case of an old favourite of mine  Peking  I hope I can be forgiven for this inconsistency. For my research on this topic, I have interviewed King Sihanouk extensively and also asked him questions arising from other responses given by other sources, as well as newly declassified diplomatic reports from different countries, including Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. I have also interviewed Cambodians who lived in Peking during this period. I have also have had access to King Sihanouks personal archives which were kept in Peking until 2004 when I helped to catalogue and pack them for their trip to France, where they are currently held. Lastly, I have spoken or corresponded with former diplomats and  journalists posted in China during the 1970s. I have also have limited communication with Chinese scholars working on Chinas relations with Southeast Asia in the 1970s and I have found that they have had limited access to official records for the period, thus much need to be done to get a better picture of events during that fluid period of Chinas international relations. Unfortunately, I have had no access to Chinese official records or to Chinese diplomats speaking on the record. In June 2007, through 2  the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Peking I requested access to the records of conversation between the late Prime Minister Zhou Enlai and King Sihanouk and initially there was a positive response but the Foreign Ministry requested the written permission of King Sihanouk, which he promptly granted. However, following the Olympic Games Flame controversy and the violence in Tibet during 2008, I have received so far no answer to my request. I should further point out that the period I am examining in todays Seminar was the period of the first exile in China of King Sihanouk covering the period 19 March 1970 to 9 September 1975. The second exile of the King in China was from 6 January 1979, when he was flown out of Phnom Penh by a Chinese plane, just before  Vietnamese forces took over the Cambodian capital and the 14 November 1991, when he returned to Phnom Penh after the 1991 Paris Agreements had been signed. I have not covered this second period during this Seminar. The relationship between Cambodia and China is, indeed, a complex subject determined firstly by the geo-political location of Cambodia which forced the countrys leadership to perform a delicate exercise in trying to keep by all available means its sovereignty and territorial integrity faced with rapacious neighbours and the competing designs of the great powers active in the region. Interestingly, no full-length account exists of Cambodias relations with China or of the unique close relationship retired King Norodom Sihanouk forged with Chinese leaders, specially the late Prime Minister Zhou Enlai. Chinas relations with Sihanouk prior to March 1970 3  For the purpose of this Seminar, I feel Cambodias relations with China can be divided in different periods both of stability and instability: From 1954 until 1966 When the relationship developed and became a close and stable one, beginning with Zhou Enlai interventions at the 1954 Geneva Conference on Indochina. China had traditionally recognized the existence of three clearly defined states in the region which the French called Indochina. For the Chinese the Word Indochina hinted at French colonialism, thus when in Geneva, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong proposed that the representatives of the Cambodian and Lao communist insurgencies be given the status of representatives, China did not agree because, the Peoples Republic since its foundation had recognized the legitimacy of the governments claiming national independence, as the Cambodian and Lao monarchies had done. 1  King Sihanouk had been informed by his representatives at the 1954 Geneva Conference on Indochina of Chinas professions of respect for other countries territorial integrity. During the conference, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai had also intervened to persuade the North Vietnamese delegation to recognize Cambodia, to respect the countrys territorial integrity and to withdraw its troops from Cambodian territory. 2   1  Han Suyin, “Eldest Son: Zhou Enlai and the making of modern China 1898-1976”, Pimlico (Random House) , London 1994, pages 237-240 2  Interview with HM King Norodom Sihanouk, Peking, November , 17 1996 4  Sihanouk visited China for the first time in February 1956. 3  He was welcomed as an old friend, accompanied by Zhou Enlai everywhere he went and flattered by Chairman Ma Zedong, who praised Sihanouks policy of peace and neutrality. The visit took place soon after a visit Sihanouk had paid to Manila, where the Filipino president had pressed him to join the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). Sihanouk was not used to be told what to do and the Manila left a bad impression, thus when he received such a grand welcome in Peking he was duly impressed. The join communiqué signed on this occasion stated that the relationship between the two countries was based on peaceful coexistence and on improved economic and cultural links. 4  In April 1956 when Prime Minister Zhou Enlai paid a visit to Cambodia, a trade agreement was signed for the amount of US$ 14 million. 5  In July 1958, Cambodia officially recognized the Peoples Republic of China and the two countries established diplomatic relations. In his message to Zhou Enlai, Sihanouk made reference to the deterioration of Cambodias relations with her two SEATO neighbours, Thailand and South Vietnam adding that: New China being strong and great will never breach the trust we have bestowed on her and will forever respect the  principles of peace, friendship, cooperation, mutual benefit and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other and that the Khmer people are very willing to rely on the Chinese 3  The visit took place from 13 to 21 February 1956 4  For Sihanouk’s comments on his successive visit to China see Sihanouk speech on 28 February 1963 in FBIS, Cambodia, 6 March 1963. 5  See CIA deputy Director for Intelligence, Research Report No. 20 “Prince Sihanouk and the new order in Southeast Asia”, ESAU XXVI, undated, page 24 5
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