150,000 Cambodian refugees settle in the
1984: The Killing Fields wins three Academy Awards 1989: Vietnamese troops withdraw from
At the start of the 1980s, very ,little of
's infrastructure remai~ed intact. Few roads, schools or hospitals had survived Khmer Rouge rule, and most civil servants and educated people had either died or fled the country. Cambodia
Famine was rife. Food stocks were dwindling due to disruptions in the harvest cycle caused by the invasion of Vietnamese troops, 150,000 of whom would remain in
for most of the decade. Some 300,000 Cambodian refugees lived in UN-administered camps along the Thai border, but only 10% were given refugee status, meaning the vast majority would spend the decade in limbo. Cambodia
International development groups, responding to the misery of the camps, poured into the border area to begin administering aid. The
contributed $15 million per year in humanitarian assistance through organizations such as UNICEF and the International Committee for the Red Cross. As early as 1981, this aid began to have an impact on conditions in the camps, with the malnutrition rate among children falling from 50% to 2.5% in less than a year. United States
As the PRK attempted to rebuild the state institutions lost under Khmer Rouge rule, aid streamed into
along Cold War lines. The Soviet Union, Cambodia Vietnam and other communist countries supported the PRK government with an estimated $100 million in aid per year, while the and much of the West imposed economic sanctions on the PRK government, choosing instead to focus aid on the border camps. United States
The anti-government resistance along the border was composed of three groups, which officially joined together in 1982 to create the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea (CGDK). The largest of these was the Khmer Rouge, which received military aid from
China through . Although critics charged that Thailand U.S. humanitarian aid was unintentionally reaching the Khmer Rouge, the denied this. United States
"It bears repeating - one can't say it often enough - that we give no support of any kind to the Khmer Rouge," Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Paul D. Wolfowitz said at the time.
did directly support the two other groups, dubbed collectively the noncommunist resistance, with non-lethal aid. Prince Norodom Sihanouk headed the pro-royalist National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC), while Son Sann, a Prime Minister in the 1960s, headed the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF). United States
Beginning in 1979, and continuing throughout the 1980s, the
United States - along with China, ASEAN and others - voted to allow the antigovernment coalition to hold 's seat at the United Nations. The Cambodia argued that the PRK government was illegitimate since it was imposed by a foreign invasion, and it was consistent with international law to seat the predecessor government. United States
u.s. government involvement in Cambodia, Americans knew little about what had happened there after 1975, when the last of the presence left the country. A movie released in 1984 changed all of that and catapulted images of Pol Pot's U.S. - the labor camps, the child soldiers, the executions into the American consciousness. Cambodia
The Killing Fields depicted the true story of the relationship between New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg and his Cambodian stringer, Dith Pran, as they covered the war between Lon Nol and Khmer Rouge forces in the mid-1970s. In the film as in real life, Schanberg manages to escape
Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge took , but Pran is captured and is sent to successive labor camps in the countryside, an ordeal he manages to survive. The film won three Academy Awards. As a result of its popularity and emotional power, American charities raised millions of dollars in support of victims of the Khmer Rouge. Phnom Penh
Americans also began to encounter survivors of the Khmer Rouge in their cities and neighborhoods. Throughout the 1980s, the
government settled 150,000 Cambodian refugees in cities across the country. Large CambodianAmerican communities took root in places such as U.S. Long Beach, California and . As countless immigrants to the Lowell, Massachusetts had done before them, CambodianAmericans adapted to the way of life in their new home while retaining their distinct cultural identity. United States
Meanwhile, back in
the stalemate between the PRK and the anti-government resistance groups showed no sign of resolution. Fighting between the two sides reached a sort of equilibrium, with the insurgency advancing east from the border region during the wet season, and PRK and Vietnamese troops reclaiming lost ground during the dry season. Despite the continued fighting, the Cambodian economy was gradually recovering, due largely to the reemergence of small-scale trading. In addition, Cambodians were reviving traditional family and Buddhist practices lost during the Khmer Rouge. The Cambodia remained committed to supporting the non-communist resistance groups. In February and March of 1985, U.S. Representative Stephen Solarz, a Democrat from United States with a keen interest in developments in New York Cambodia, attempted to change the nature of support for these groups. Solarz proposed a $5 million package of overt, non-lethal aid; direct U.S. support for the groups up to that point had been covert and non-lethal, at $12 million per year. U.S.
On May 15, the Senate approved a version of Solarz' proposal. The House of Representatives then voted to pass the legislation in July, and President Reagan signed the bill on August 8, 1985. For the first time,
non-lethal aid to the non-communist resistance would be overt, reaching a total of $15 million over the next three years. U.S.
U.S. aid to the non-communist resistance increased in size and visibility, the Vietnamese government began to realize that it could no longer afford its costly occupation of . Convinced that the PRK could resist a Khmer Rouge takeover without outside help, Cambodia announced in 1988 that it was planning to withdraw its forces from the country. Vietnam
In February 1989, negotiations were held in
. Following the meeting, the PRK announced that Indonesia would withdraw by the end of September 1989, even if a political agreement was not reached. Negotiations continued at a conference in Vietnam in June 1989; although hopes remained high, the participants still did not reach a settlement. Paris
On September 21, 1989,
Vietnam began its final withdrawal of troops from . However, Cambodia Cambodia remained divided, and the joined the international community in a final push to end the conflict. In October 1989, Representative Solarz conferred United States
with Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans about administering the country and holding elections. The following month, Evans presented his plan, which included significant input from Solarz and Prince Sihanouk.
Evans' proposal called for the UN to provide interim authority until national elections could be held. The stage was set for the United Nations Transitional Authority in
Cambodia - the most expensive peacekeeping effort undertaken by the UN - and 's first democratic elections. Cambodia