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Cambodia: 1992

1956: Cambodia

1957: Cambodia
1958: Cambodia
1959: Cambodia
1960: Cambodia
1961: Cambodia
1962: Cambodia
1963: Cambodia
1964: Cambodia
1965: Cambodia
1966: Cambodia
1967: Cambodia
1968: Cambodia
1969: Cambodia
1970: Cambodia
1971: Cambodia
1972: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1973: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1974: Cambodia (Khmer Republic)
1975: Cambodia
1976: Cambodia
1977: Cambodia
1978: Cambodia
1979: Cambodia
1980: Cambodia
1981: Cambodia
1982: Cambodia
1983: Cambodia
1984: Cambodia
1985: Cambodia
1986: Cambodia
1987: Cambodia
1988: Cambodia
1989: Cambodia
1990: Cambodia
1991: Cambodia
1992: Cambodia
1993: Cambodia
1994: Cambodia
1995: Cambodia
1996: Cambodia
1997: Cambodia
1998: Archaeology: Radar Reveals Hidden Ruins in Cambodia
1998: Cambodia: Hun Sen Declares Election Victory
1998: Pol Pot Dies at 73
1998: Coalition Government

Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year.


1992: Cambodia

Dislocation and instability marked Cambodia's first year under the peace accord signed in Paris in October 1991 after two decades of horrendous civil war. Sporadic armed conflicts continued between the forces of Premier Hun Sen, leader of the regime installed by Vietnam in 1979, and the Communist Khmer Rouge, still led by the infamous Pol Pot, who many feared might regain political control. In its largest such mission up to that time, involving some 20,000 personnel, the United Nations attempted to restore law and order and to establish the basis for national elections scheduled for May 1993. It also sought to repatriate, before those elections, some 370,000 Cambodian refugees from camps along the Thai border.

Factional Politics.

The Khmer Rouge demanded that the Hun Sen regime be dissolved and its powers transferred to the Supreme National Council established under the peace accord. The SNC represents all four of Cambodia's rival political factions and is headed by Prince Norodom Sihanouk, who was ousted from power in a coup that toppled the monarchy in 1970. Sihanouk opposed the Hun Sen regime during the civil war years in an uneasy alliance with the Khmer Rouge and with a second non-Communist faction, the Khmer People's National Liberation Front, headed by former Premier Son Sann.

The Peace Accord.

The UN force experienced great difficulty in its attempts to implement the peace accord. Under the terms of the accord, the armed forces of all four Cambodian factions were supposed to begin disarming and assembling in UN-supervised camps by mid-June. The Khmer Rouge resisted demobilization and maintained effective control over large sectors of the countryside. The head of the UN force, Yasushi Akashi, accused the Khmer Rouge of jeopardizing the accord, while the Khmer Rouge accused the UN of neocolonialism and demanded that Akashi be replaced. For the first time since 1978, the Khmer Rouge was receiving virtually no international economic or diplomatic support. Even China was thought to be supporting the UN and pressuring the Khmer Rouge to follow its directions. But by mid-November the Khmer Rouge was still resisting international pressures and refusing to disarm. On November 30 the UN Security Council voted to impose economic sanctions on areas of Cambodia controlled by the Khmer Rouge and to hold the scheduled elections with or without the group's participation. Hours later Khmer Rouge guerrillas began a spate of brief kidnappings of UN peacekeepers.

Anti-Vietnamese Sentiments.

The Khmer Rouge claimed it was resisting disarmament because Vietnamese troops were still present in Cambodia and thousands of Vietnamese civilians had been settled in border areas as part of an underground military network to spearhead a future occupation. The UN denied any evidence of this and accused the Khmer Rouge of fueling racial hatred; in late December the UN charged the Khmer Rouge with killing 12 ethnic Vietnamese in the worst violation of the peace accord to date. Many observers feared that historically deep-rooted anti-Vietnamese sentiments among ordinary Cambodians might have increased political support for the Khmer Rouge, despite memories of the "killing fields" massacres during their years in power from 1975 to 1979.

Economic Malaise.

The Khmer Rouge also gained popularity by criticizing the Hun Sen regime for widespread corruption and economic mismanagement. Widening income disparities between the poor majority and a conspicuously wealthy elite in Phnom Penh added to the social and political tensions. An annual inflation rate above 200 percent made the Cambodian riel unacceptable internationally. Local retailers, and even some government ministries, often refused to accept payment in riels. Inflation seriously eroded the fixed salaries of civil servants and soldiers, encouraging corruption and theft of supplies and other public assets. At midyear, the UN force took control of the central bank in an attempt to curb the money supply and stabilize the economy.

Foreign Aid and Finance.

The loss to Cambodia of Soviet aid — around $100 million annually in the 1980s — was not bridged by other donor assistance, leaving the government in dire budgetary straits. Military spending accounted for about half of total government spending. About half the budget was financed by printing new currency. Costs of refugee rehabilitation were projected at no less than $350 million for 1992-1994. (An estimated 250,000 refugees had been repatriated by mid-December 1992.) In response to a UN request for $600 million to aid in Cambodia's reconstruction, donors pledged $880 million at a Tokyo conference in June. Another $83 million of emergency aid was being considered by the World Bank. To be eligible for World Bank or most other international assistance, Cambodia would have to clear up $65 million of debt-service arrears to the IMF. A donor assistance group led by France and Japan met in September to help in that effort.

Foreign investment in Cambodia resumed slowly, but did not make conspicuous inroads. Four foreign oil companies resumed offshore exploration in May, and several other joint ventures were proposed in oil support services. Thailand was the most active foreign investor, followed by France, Hong Kong, and Singapore. At least six Thai banks have been licensed to operate in Cambodia. Thai businessmen were accused of being mostly interested in Cambodia's forestry, mineral, and fisheries resources, but other joint ventures included a new airline and several hotels. Thai engineers also were active in helping clear mines, repair roads, and build schools, wells, and other facilities to aid the repatriation of refugees from Thailand.

Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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