Vietnam to recall its diplomat to Cambodia after his remarks ignite protests
PHNOM PENH - Visiting Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh said Thursday that Vietnam would recall Tran Van Thong, spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy to Cambodia, after the spokesman's comments have triggered off a wave of protests among ethnic Khmer Krom in Cambodia, according to Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Cambodia's Foreign Ministry.
Vinh made the remarks during a meeting with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.
"Vinh told Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong that the Vietnamese Embassy to Cambodia will send a diplomatic note to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the calling back of spokesman Tran Van Thong to Vietnam," Koy Kuong told reporters after the meeting.
Tran Van Thong's recall came after he commented on a radio in June that South Vietnam, or former Kampuchea Krom provinces, belonged to Vietnam "long" before colonial France's official transfer of the land in 1949.
The comments triggered off a wave of protests last month among ethnic Khmer Krom monks and activists in Cambodia.
Hundreds of protesters had staged demonstrations and burned a Vietnamese flag in front of the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh to demand an apology from the spokesman and urged him to accept the true history of the former Kampuchea Krom provinces.
According to history, French protectorate officially turned over the former Kampuchea Krom provinces, once Cambodian territory, to neighbouring Vietnam on June 4, 1949.
Xinhua Agency - September 11, 2014