SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol 14, No 2 (2014)

Cambodian-Thai Relations during the Khmer Rouge Regime: Evidence from the East German Diplomatic Archives

Christian Oesterheld




Abstract


Unsurprisingly, the scholarly literature on Democratic Kampuchea focuses on the Khmer Rouge’s internal policies, notably aspects of their ideology and regime of terror. By and large, Democratic Kampuchea is seen as a hermetically sealed hermit state with little engagement in foreign relations. If indeed foreign policy is scrutinized, most accounts are limited to a discussion of the Khmer Rouge’s relations to China and the Cambodian-Vietnamese war of the late 1970s. The similarly troublesome, if non-escalating relationship between Democratic Kampuchea and Thailand during the Khmer Rouge’s time in power is rarely touched upon in the scholarly literature on Cambodia. Based on an analysis of primary sources from the East German diplomatic archives, this paper aims to help filling this historiographical gap by providing an account on Thai-Cambodian relations during the period of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979), framed by a discussion of some basic principles of Khmer Rouge foreign policy.

Key words : Border Disputes, Democratic Kampuchea, Foreign Relations, Khmer Rouge, Thailand

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