|Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (L) visits fomer Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu in Hanoi on December 27, 2013, during his official visit to Vietnam
In his honour, Colonel Vu Trong Hoan, a former lecturer at the Military History Institute of Vietnam, wrote an article highlighting the late leader’s contributions to Cambodia’s revolution.
The article noted that in early 1979, in response to calls for help from the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation, Vietnamese volunteer soldiers coordinated with the revolutionary armed forces and people of Cambodia to launch a general offensive against the Pol Pot regime to liberate Cambodia from the scourge of genocide and restore power to the people.
In this attack, Le Kha Phieu was a member of the Frontline High Command of Military Region 9 and directly ordered the military region’s armed forces and some units from the Cambodian side to fight in the main battlefield in order to liberate southeastern and southern provinces in the country, thus greatly contributing to the victory of the general offensive.
All of Cambodia was freed from the genocidal Pol Pot regime in January 1979 and the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Council declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea.
In the early period after the liberation, Cambodia’s revolution encountered countless difficulties and challenges, as the country had been devastated and remnants of the genocidal regime were yet to be wiped out completely, having retreated to mountains and forests on the Cambodia-Thailand border and, with external support, continued its sabotage activities.
On February 18, 1979, then Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong and President of the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Council Heng Samrin signed a treaty of peace, friendship, and cooperation under which volunteer soldiers and military experts of Vietnam continued to assist the Cambodian people to protect the revolutionary administration and revive the country.
At Cambodia’s request for assistance in the new circumstances and under directions from the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence, Le Kha Phieu was assigned to be in charge of the mission of supporting the Cambodian people.
The three focal tasks of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and military experts in Cambodia at that time were protecting important venues, arterial roads, and life and property; carrying out mass mobilisation to develop the revolution, stepping up production and stabilising people’s lives; and enhancing the political quality of Cambodian forces and strengthening the solidarity and combatant alliance between the two militaries, the colonel wrote.
In May 1981, the Central Military Commission founded the High Command of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers in Cambodia, also known as High Command 719, led by then Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lt. Gen. Le Duc Anh. At that time, Le Kha Phieu was appointed chief of the political department at the high command.
In late 1988, after most Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and military experts in Cambodia had returned home, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and designated Vice Chairman of the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army.
During the eight-year period from 1981 to 1988, he was one of the key leaders of the High Command of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers in Cambodia.
The article noted that Le Kha Phieu’s dedication to Cambodia’s revolution will be forever remembered by the Cambodian people, as he helped nurture solidarity, friendship, equality, and cooperation for common development between the two nations.
In its conclusion, the article quoted Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen as saying that Le Kha Phieu was “a clear-sighted leader who devoted his entire life to the independence, peace, and prosperity of Vietnam” and was also “a good friend of Cambodia” who made significant contributions to the “fraternal friendship and sound cooperation” between the two countries’ Parties, Governments and people.