BEIJING — Cambodian resistance leader Prince Norodom Sihanouk warned his American critics Tuesday that any cutoff of U.S. aid to his guerrilla faction will only force him closer to China.
Sihanouk, the head of a three-faction resistance coalition seeking to oust the Vietnamese-installed Phnom Penh government, has come under growing criticism in recent months for his relations with the radical Khmer Rouge.
The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia with a reign of terror from 1975 through 1978 under the leadership of Pol Pot.
But Sihanouk, charging Tuesday that Vietnam has redrawn maps to take over territory along Cambodia's southeast border, stressed that he fears Vietnamese control of his nation more than he fears the Khmer Rouge.
"You approve of the liberation of Czechoslovakia, of Poland, of East Germany, of Hungary, of Lithuania from the Soviet Union," Sihanouk said at a press conference. "But you say that the Cambodian patriots, they are criminals, because there is Pol Pot. Pol Pot or not, we are Cambodians. . . . "
Sihanouk, who along with the Khmer Rouge already relies heavily on Chinese military aid, stressed that he has profound differences with the Khmer Rouge.