Cambodia Conflict (1975 - 1999)


After the agro-communist Khmer Rouge won the 1970-75 civil war, they installed a regime that subsequently killed almost 2 million people. Despite previous cooperation with Vietnamese communists, the Khmer Rouge feared the potential power of their neighbour and began purging Vietnamese-trained members of their cadre as well as launching attacks on the Vietnamese border from 1975 onwards. In response, Vietnam launched a full invasion in 1978, displacing the Khmer Rouge government and installing a puppet government in Phnom Penh. Vietnam continued fighting members of the Khmer Rouge until Vietnamese forces withdrew in 1989 and in 1991, the UN mediated a ceasefire. By 1992, however, the Khmer Rouge withdrew from the agreement and resumed fighting until they were defeated in 1999. Meanwhile, the 1993 elections formed a power-sharing arrangement between the two largest political parties; Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and the National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC). However, the CPP consolidated political power following the overthrow of FUNCINPEC’s co-Prime Minister in mid-1997.

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