Friday a group of protesters holding signs in Khmer and English protested in Washington’s Upper Senate Park just to the north of the U.S. Capitol. Leaders of the demonstration called for an end to what they say is Vietnam’s “encroaching” and further “annexation” of Cambodian territory. Demonstrators accused the U.S. of having involvement and supporting Vietnam either directly or indirectly in this action.
Separately, but demonstrating tensions between Cambodia and Vietnam, just this week, Radio Free Asia reported that protesters in Cambodia were detained for protesting in front of the Cambodian Parliament, accusing a Vietnamese sand dredging company of polluting the environment in Koh Kong province, located on the southern shore of Cambodia.
The demonstrators in Washington in the U.S. today also accused Vietnam of historically committing this action of encroachment on neighboring Laos as well.
There is historically a fear expressed by Cambodians that past attempts to take over Cambodia by Vietnam will happen again. This, coupled with one of the weakest economies and militaries in the region, fuels much of the Cambodian government’s fears and that of Cambodian citizens alike.