Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Situation in Kampuchea

September 22, 1983

The United States supports ASEAN's [Association for Southeast Asian Nations] efforts to achieve a comprehensive political settlement of the problem in Kampuchea based on the complete withdrawal of Vietnamese forces and internationally supervised elections. These principles have been adopted by the great majority of the world's nations in the declaration of the U.N.-sponsored International Conference on Kampuchea (ICK) and successive resolutions of the U.N. General Assembly.

The Khmer resistance coalition is an important element of ASEAN's strategy. The U.S. was not directly involved in the coalition's formation, but we have welcomed it as a vehicle formed to achieve a political settlement in Kampuchea. We give moral, diplomatic, and political support to the coalition's non-Communist elements, led by Prince Sihanouk and former Prime Minister Son Sann. We provide no assistance to and have no contact with the Khmer Rouge.

Last year Prince Sihanouk and Son Sann met with Vice President Bush in Washington during the U.N. General Assembly. The President will meet with Prince Sihanouk and Mr. Son Sann, not as representatives of the Government of Democratic Kampuchea, which we have never recognized, but as respected Khmer nationalists and leaders of non-Communist groups struggling to free their country from Vietnamese occupation.

The President will reaffirm our opposition to the Vietnamese occupation of Kampuchea and our support for ASEAN's efforts to achieve a settlement which will restore Kampuchea's independence. He will also seek their views on the present situation in Kampuchea and prospects for the current U.N. General Assembly. We have no plans to provide military assistance to the coalition or any of its members.

Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the statement during his daily press briefing for reporters, which began at 1:20 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.