“The people gave us support by hiding food and by hiding our guerrilla forces and cadres. This taught our cadres to be vigilant in following the party line of combining with the masses and relying upon the masses. Our army was not very big then. It fought with bows and arrows, especially in the northeast base areas. We gained the confidence of the people by showing them that traditional weapons could kill the enemy. The people then believed in the party line and in the revolution. The enemy used all kinds of weapons especially in the north-east where our Central Committee had its base. But this region was very strong; the enemy could not do a thing to us. However, the Vietnamese revolution was in trouble then because the enemy had built strategic villages in South Vietnam. Having no land to escape to, the Vietnamese asked us for refuge and got it. This led to the 18 March 1970 coup d’�tat of the US
The US sought to destroy our revolution, but as we were strong, we began establishing our own state power in the liberated areas. We were successful immediately in 70 per cent of the rural areas; if the US had not invaded, we could have liberated the whole country by June 1970. In 1967-68 many people said we were ultra-leftist; in 1970, everyone agreed we had the correct position. Everyone followed us. Socialist countries and other countries around the world supported us, enabling us to continue our economic, military and international work better than before. But I would like to stress that even with favourable conditions we kept the existence of our party secret and we continued to build upon the secret struggle as a fundamental tactic. We became masters of the situation because we had our bases in the rural areas, and because we had the forces of the united front.
At first, we did not notice our contradictions with Vietnam. To be frank, we thought the Vietnamese were our friends. But instead of helping us Vietnam came to seize forces, to build up its own forces and to grasp our party as a whole. There were lots of difficulties. We had to fight the US-Thieu forces sent to help Lon Nol, while at the same time they tried to stab us in the back. Our party, of course, decided to resolve the principal contradiction first that is, to win victory over Lon Nol.
The contradiction between us and Vietnam deepened towards 1973 when Vietnam united with the US at the negotiating table. The US immediately imposed conditions, obliging Vietnam to pressure Kampuchea to come to the negotiating table. They tried but we refused. The Vietnamese then made every effort to undermine our revolution. Meanwhile, as Vietnam and Laos laid down their arms, the US mobilized all its forces to bomb Kampuchea ? all its forces in South-East Asia! ? for 200 days and 200 nights, to force us to the negotiating table. Our party was resolutely opposed to kneeling to the US. Had we done so the Lon Nol traitors in Phnom Penh would have gained time to build up their forces. We decided to struggle to the end. We were in any case able to resist the US air war, and by defeating the US air war confidence grew in our party line. More and more people were convinced that our line was correct I must make clear that awareness of the party line did not come overnight or through theoretical studies. It grew as a result of the concrete experiences and suffering of the people and as a result of class hatred. It was only through practice that understanding of the party line deepened.
In 1974, the year after the air war, our party decided to launch the final big offensive, to liberate Phnom Penh and the whole country in the dry season of 1975. Vietnam was naturally informed. The Vietnamese believed the US would not allow us to win. Moreover they were not prepared to allow us to have victory in advance of their victory. Consequently, they refused to transport ammunition being sent from China and other countries, but especially from China. We had to use ammunition captured from the enemy; we received nothing from Vietnam. The Vietnamese opposed our winning because they wanted to liberate Saigon and then send their forces to liberate Phnom Penh, to build up a political apparatus here and to create a new party, thereby eliminating the Communist Party of Kampuchea and establishing an Indochinese Federation.
In spite of these difficult conditions, our party did its best and liberated Phnom Penh on 17 April 1975, two weeks in advance of the liberation of Saigon. Once we had liberated the whole country and secured our independence and sovereignty, that is in June 1975, the Vietnamese sent their troops to occupy our island, Koh Way. We defended it and forced Vietnam to withdraw. What we want to make clear to you is that, throughout the period of national democratic revolution, there was a hard, complicated struggle involving difficulties with the Soviet Union and Vietnam but we overcame these and won victory.”