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By Nayan Chanda

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10 Although cordiality was a pretense, the atmosphere improved marginally when Puolo Wai was returned . On August 10, Nguyen Van Linh met Nuon Chea, one of Cambodia's top party leaders, to inform him that Vietnamese troops had been withdrawn from the island . " II In fact, it was the overawareness of the border problem and the intense nationalism of both sides that had produced the bloody scramble after the victory. Neither side was ready to carry the battle through . The Vietnamese in particular were anxious to keep the conflict out of the public view .

In 1975, Mao advised a Vietnamese leader to "learn from the Khmer Rouge how to carry out a revolution. " 13 The friendship between Mao's China and Democratic Kampuchea was based on ideology and, more importantly, on identity of national interest . The Pol Pot group not only had boundless admiration for Mao's theory of class struggle and uninterrupted revolution, they also shared China's fear and loathing of the Soviet Union . As opposition to the Vietnamese domination of the Indochinese peninsula became the primary concern of the Pol Pot group, they naturally turned out to be China's key ally in its traditional strategy of preventing the emergence of a strong power on its southern border.

While on a trip to Hanoi in 1973, Sihanouk had almost caused a diplomatic incident by denouncing leng Sary. The Swedish ambassador in Hanoi, Jean-Christophe Oberg, had been to see the prince in the guesthouse. "That abominable leng Sary is always spying on me," the prince complained in his high-pitched voice. "Mr. Ambassador, if you look at the bottom of the curtain as you go out of the room you will see his feet. " The embarrassed envoy did not dare to look down as he walked out of the room . By March 1973 , the Khmer Rouge had established their control over vast areas of Cambodia.

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