Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan Saturday met with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, calling on both countries to handle strategic issues in bilateral ties with a broader vision and a longer-term perspective.
1. Kenton Clymer, The United States and Cambodia, 1969-2000: A Troubled Relationship(New York and London: Routledge, 2004)
2. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger discusses the Khmer Rouge regime with Thailand’s Foreign Minister Chatichai, November 26, 1975
Kissinger: “You should also tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in our way. We are prepared to improve relations with them.”
3. Ford and Kissinger discuss Cambodia with Indonesia’s President Suharto, Jakarta, December 5, 1975
4. Former US National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, on China and the Khmer Rouge, 1979:
“I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him, but China could.” According to Brzezinski, the USA “winked, semi-publicly” at Chinese and Thai aid to the Khmer Rouge.
There are allegations that the United States (U.S.) directly armed the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian–Vietnamese War in order to weaken the influence of Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Southeast Asia. It is not disputed that the United States encouraged the government of China to provide military training and support for the Khmer Rouge and that the United States voted for the Khmer Rouge to remain the official representative of the country in the United Nations even after 1979 when the Khmer Rouge was mostly deposed by Vietnam and ruled just a small part of the country.
Additional alleged U.S. actions that benefited the Khmer Rouge range from tolerating Chinese and Thai aid to the organization (Henry Kissinger) to, according to Michael Haas, directly arming the Khmer Rouge. The U.S. government officially denies these claims, and Nate Thayer defended U.S. policy, arguing that little, if any, American aid actually reached the Khmer Rouge. However, it is not disputed that the U.S. voted for the Khmer Rouge, and later, for the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK), which was dominated by the Khmer Rouge, to retain Cambodia’s United Nations (UN) seat until 1982 and 1991, respectively.