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Document Creation Date: 
December 20, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 3, 2007
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PDF icon CIA-RDP83B00551R000200190003-5.pdf186.34 KB
Approved For Release 2007i0510~DP83B005518000200190003-~~ The Conflict in Kampuchea There has been no meaningful change in the overall strategic military situation in Kampuchea during the past year. Over the past three months, haa- ever, the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) has worked hard to replenish and reorganize its forces in Kampuchea, to strengthen and broaden its logistics routes tra the Thai border, and to improve troop morale. With little advance warning, the Vietnamese could carry out sharp, hard-hitting thrusts against several vulnerable Khmer resistance camps. Recent Vietnamese reconnaissance probes and limited offensive initiatives along the border have raised tensions, but actual fighting has been light. Military Balance in Kampuchea Vietnam has 18-20 divisions (an estimated 180,000 troops) in Kampuchea. Nearly half are near the 'Thai border. These troops are well aimed and equipped with conventional weapons provided primarily by the Soviet Union. They control major population centers, most principal lines of cc~anunication, and are effectively protecting key rice-gracing areas. Vietnam could draw on reserves to reinforce its position in Kampuchea if challenged by greater resistance activity. Vietnam will be able to meet the costs of occupation as long as Soviet aid bolsters it against the domestic and international pressures that might otherwise alter its behavior. L~snocratic Kampuchea (DK} guerrilla forces (estimated to be at least 35,000 troops) bear the brunt of fighting against the Vietnamese. Small DK units operate in virtually every region of Kampuchea but they do not att~npt to hold territory or expel the Vietnamese from major positions. While the DK are nac stronger than at any time over the past three years, they are totally dependent on Chinese financial and military support roved For Release 2007/05103 :CIA-RDP83B005518000200190003-5-~~-~1"--~i Approved For Release 2007i0510~kRDP83B00551 8000200190003-5 and on Thai cooperation. 'The DK does not have sufficient recruits to exp~-ind its forces rapidly, and conservation of manpaver is an overriding DK concern. In general, the DK aim to keep up the military pressure shat it has applied over the past three years. Zhey are seeking to wear down the Viet namese physically and mentally through sustained but law level conflict. Zhe Khmer People's National Liberation Force (KFNLF) is the largest and most active non-Cca~anlnist resistance group operating in Kan~uchea. The KPNT.F forces (estimated at 6-8,000 troops) will not. soon achieve military parity with the DK. 2he majority of the KpNLF's armed forces lack training, cc~nbat experience, and leadership. While the nucleus of a good I~NLF guerrilla force (2,000 troops) is developing along the 'Thai border, growth is hindered by recruitment, financial and. supply problens. Zhe KPNLE does not have the potential to develop into a force strong enough to challenge the Vietnamese in Kampuchea. resistance forces loyal to Prince Sihanouk number less than 1,000 troops, These troops do not carry out any meaningful military operations and are not a factor in the Kampuchean conflict. Status of Coalition Talks There have been numerous attempts to get the various Khmer resistance factions too form a united front to add political pressure on Vietnam. Thus far, all have failed. Political maneuvering currently is focused on Singapore's loose coalition proposal. The non-C~nunists support the proposal. The DK are expected to reject it because they believe it assigns them a subordinate role in the resistance. Zhe DK, nonetheless, believe some form of united front is essential to defeat the Vietnamese, and are expected to make a counterproposal during the next faa weeks. Approved For Release 2007/0511?~-RDP83B005518000200190003-5 Approved For Release 2007/0510,3~~RDP83B00551 8000200190003-5 die prospects for an of fective coalition of the divided and antagonistic Khmer resistance groups are not good. Negotiations are likely to be prolonged. Even if scene form of association among their is eventually established, the groups will--for all practical purposes--continue to operate as separate entities. Soviet and Chinese Goals in Indochina In att~iipting to expand its influence in Southeast Asia, bbscow's principal concerns are to contain China and diminish US influence, for the present ccsir- plementing Vietnam's national interests in the region. For their sizable economic investment in support of Vietnamese policy in Indochina, the Soviets have already realized substantial returns that further their regional interests. They have a highly visible advisory presence throughout Indochina, and have gained access to Vietriamese air and naval facilities which enhance their military capabilities in Southeast Asia. Zhese facilities enable the Soviets to better support Indian Ocean deployments and to expand intelligence collection capabilities in the region. Nbscow will seek greater influence in Southeast Asia over the longer term by using Vietnam and the neighboring Indo- china stages to strengthen its presence in the region. China's principal goal in Kampuchea is to prevent the expansion of Vietn~se and Soviet influence throughout Indochina. Beijing probably perceives little alternative to a relationship with Hanoi marked by long-term hostility and has sought fe~a alternatives to a policy aimed at keeping pressure on Vietnam from as many sides as passible. Trie Chinese believe such a strategy will eventually force Hanoi to retrench in Kampuchea, loosen its ties too the Soviets, and recognize Chinese security interests in the region. Chinese interests thus are served by protracted warfare in Kampuchea-it weakens Vietnam,. creates opportunities to strengthen Chinese influence in Thailand, and gives -3- SECRET Approved For Release 2007/05103 :CIA-RDP83B005518000200190003-5 -~~"~~`~~ Approved For Release 2007i05103~~RDP83B00551 8000200190003-5 Beijing the opportunity to visibly demonstrate its support for ASEAN policies. Gina will support a coalition that it sees as adding pressure on the Vietnairese without weakening DK military capabilities. roved For Release 2007i05103S~;1A-RDP83B005518000200190003-5