On October 23, 1991, the Paris Conference reconvened to sign a comprehensive
settlement giving the UN full authority to supervise a cease-fire, repatriate
the displaced Khmer along the border with Thailand, disarm and demobilize the
factional armies, and prepare the country for free and fair elections. Prince
Sihanouk, President of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC), and
other members of the SNC returned to Phnom Penh
in November 1991, to begin the resettlement process in Cambodia.
The reasons for Chinese support of the CPK was to prevent a pan-Indochina
movement, and maintain Chinese military superiority in the region. The Soviet
Union supported a strong Vietnam
to maintain a second front against China in case of hostilities and to
prevent further Chinese expansion.
In March 1970, while Prince Sihanouk was absent, General Lon Nol deposed
Prince Sihanouk in a coup d'état in the early hours of March 18, 1970. It has
been alleged that this coup was not planned by the United States Central
Intelligence Agency. Still while abroad, Prince Sihanouk had been warned by
both the leaders in Soviet Union and in Peking,
that he should return home, immediately without delay.
As a result of the Geneva Conference on Indochina, Cambodia
was able to bring about the withdrawal of the Viet Minh troops from its
territory and to withstand any residual impingement upon its sovereignty by
In 1863, Cambodia under king Norodom became a protectorate of France. In
October 1887, the French announced the formation of the Union Indochinoise
(Union of Indochina), which at that time comprised Cambodia, already an
autonomous French possession, and the three regions of Vietnam (Tonkin, Annam,
and Cochinchina. In 1893, Laos was annexed after the French threatened Siam's
King Chulalongkorn with war, thereby forcing him to give up the territory.
The fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries were a period of
continued decline and territorial loss. Cambodia
enjoyed a brief period of prosperity during the sixteenth century because its
kings, who built their capitals in the region southeast of the Tonle Sap along
the Mekong River,
promoted trade with other parts of Asia.
The Khmer Empire was one of the most powerful empires in Southeast
Asia, based in what is now Cambodia the empire flourished from the 9th to the
13th century. The empire, which grew out of the former kingdom of Chenla, at
times ruled over and/or vassalized parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, Vietnam,
Myanmar, and Malaysia.