Vietnam's Troop Pullout: Foes Say It's a Numbers Game
MANILA — IS Vietnam pulling a fast one on its promised troop withdrawal from Cambodia? Its opponents claim it is, by disguising Vietnamese soldiers in the military uniforms of their Cambodian allies.
If true, such a Vietnamese trick ``constitutes a great hidden danger to peace'' in Cambodia, said Chinese Premier Li Peng July 5.
Cambodian resistance leader, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, claims that more than 30,000 Vietnamese soldiers are disguised in the Cambodian forces, with 100,000 more in local militias.
One reason for such a claim, which remains unproven, is political necessity for Sihanouk, analysts say.
If Vietnam appears to have fully withdrawn its troops, as promised by Sept. 30, most of the countries in the world may then recognize the Hanoi-backed regime of Hun Sen in Cambodia. But if doubts persist about the withdrawal, Sihanouk can claim civil war persists, and that his coalition needs help to continue fighting the Vietnamese.
On the other side, Sihanouk's former resistance partners, the Khmer Rouge, are also accused of pulling a ruse.
As the one-time ruthless ruler of Cambodia and now the largest guerrilla force fighting the Vietnamese, the Khmer Rouge has lately claimed that two of its leaders, Nuon Chea and Ta Mok, will retire soon, following the alleged retirement in 1985 of the group's most hated leader, Pol Pot.