04 July 2007 – By Kim Pov Sottan Radio Free Asia – Translated from Khmer by Socheata of KI Media Cambodian historians are strongly reacting to a new publication issued by the Vietnamese authority on the history of South Vietnam. The new history publication claims that Kampuchea Krom (South Vietnam) is a land which Vietnam cleared, and that Cambodian people living there are nothing more than refugees fleeing from Cambodia. Dr Michel Tranet, a Cambodian history researcher, said that this publication is a falsification of history which Cambodia’s neighboring countries undertook in the past 20 years. Dr Michel Tranet added that Cambodia has numerous stone inscription documents, and that such falsification is unwarranted. Nevertheless, he said that Cambodian historians should hold a meeting to discuss this issue. Dr Michel Tranet said: “Whatever they say, we don’t care, they write whatever they want to serve the interest of their nation. They don’t write to protect our land, we know this very well, and there’s nothing surprising. Therefore, we must pursue our research based on our stone inscriptions and based on Chinese (historical) documents, so that we learn about the truth. But we must know that they (Viets) are using a subterfuge on Khmer people, we should not be surprised. Therefore, no matter how much more they write, no matter how much they shout out, the most important for us is not to just shout back, we should also organize a meeting (to address this issue).” The Vietnamese-language document received by RFA, and provided by the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF) in the world, stated that on 08 March 2007, the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) central committee, and the Southwest region headquarters committee have written a new book titled: “The review of South Vietnam’s history for distribution to the Vietnamese population in order to prevent the breakup of the South.” This book claimed that the culture of the kingdom of Funan, also known as Nokor Phnom (in Cambodian), is not a Cambodian culture, and that this is also goes to the wedding tradition etc… The book went on to say that the Vietnamese presence in the southland (Kampuchea Krom) started since the 16th century AD, and at that time, because of Siamese interference, the Khmer royal family weakened. Vietnamese living in the Tuon Van area then went in to clear the lands in Dong Nai area. Later on Khmer King Chey Chetha II (an ancestor of the current Cambodian royal family) married Ngoc Van, a Vietnamese princess, and he allowed Vietnamese to establish themselves in the south, in the Prey Nokor (Saigon or Ho Chi Minh city) area. The book went on to say that later on, the Nguyen lords occupied the entire southern area, and became the owners the land, and that later on the Vietnamese fought and won its independence from France in 1975. The book published by the VCP claimed that Cambodian people living in South Vietnam are refugees fleeing Cambodia after the Chenla kingdom fought and took over the Funan kingdom. These Cambodians were fleeing the genocide perpetrated by the reigning Cambodian king of the time. The book was rejected by Cambodian historians who said that the Khmer race are part of the Khmer-Mon race which was influenced by the Indian culture. Both the Chenla and the Funan kingdoms were populated by Khmer ancestors and their offsprings until now. Ros Chantrabot’s history book on Cambodia said that the unification of all Khmer territories took place under the reign of King Pheakveakvarman I, between the 6th and 7th century AD. Other Khmer history books said that the Cambodian territories during its apogee, extended all the way to China Sea, including the 23 provinces now located in South Vietnam. Khmer Krom history indicated that the Southern portion of Cambodia was handed by the French colonial regime to the Vietnamese in 1949. Khieu Kanharith, government spokesman, confirmed that South Vietnam was Cambodia’s territories, and the Cambodian population living there are the rightful owners of the land. He indicated that the Phnom Penh regime is also reviewing this issue. Khieu Kanharith said: “Whatever document, let us look at it first before we provide an answer. But, to sum it up, even though I did not see (this document yet), Khmer Kampuchea Krom are the owners of the lands and waters there. The entire Kampuchea Krom lands are Khmer lands which the Vietnamese took away because our leaders are mediocre. But, as King-Father recognized it, now that we lost it, he will not demand it back, but he asked that the borders be clearly protected in order to preserve (what is left).” Ching Ba Kam, an official from the Vietnamese embassy in Cambodia, claimed that his embassy did not known about this history publication yet. “Now, I can’t confirm about this book yet, because I don’t have any information about this issue. But whatever you just said, I don’t know about it, I did not read this book yet, and I don’t know its actual content, I don’t know yet. Therefore, I cannot provide any explanation on this issue.” RFA attempted to obtain clarifications from the Ministry of Education, and the National Assembly councilor, but so far, we did not receive any answer yet.