Vietnam has withdrawn the thousands of troops it sent into Cambodia late last year, according to administration sources.
The withdrawal is apparently linked to a renewed call for negotiations issued by Hanoi on Feb. 5. That appeal included a proposal that Cambodian and Vietnamese military forces pull back five kilometers (about three miles) from their disputed border.
There is no sign that Cambodian resistance, spirited though it has been forced the Vietnamese to withdraw. The Vietnamese not only outnumber the Cambodians but they also possess a considerably larger quantity of sophisticated equipment.
For their part, the Cambodians have given no indication that they are ready to cool off hostilities let alone accept Hanoi's call for negotiations. On the contrary, according to Vietnam's Communist Party newspaper Nhan Dan, the Cambodians "have responded with more blatant attacks and violations of our territory and with escalated slanders and gross insults."
The report that Vietnam has withdrawn its units reinforces the impression here that Hanoi had limited objectives in crossing the border and no desire to run the risk of seeing the conflict get out of hand. Several analysts though Hanoi resorted to the armed incursion after unsuccessful efforts during the last two and a half years to get the Cambodians to enter talks on the border dispute that had been marked by several violent clashes.
After Phnom Penh announced the invasion on New Year's Eve. Vietnam has insisted its troops were not "occupying" Cambodian territory.
The quarrel between the two neighbouring Communist states has been watched nervously by other nations in the region who said they were fearful the conflict might not be contained. China made several attempts to get the two sides together: it apparently wanted to head off any Soviet attempt to exploit the situation and bolste its influence in the area.
When Vietnam made its Feb. 5 proposal for negotiations it urged an "immediate end to hostilities" as well as a pullback of five kilometres from the border.
It also proposed that the "two sides shall meet at once in Hanoi or Phnom Penh or at a place on the border to discull and conclued a treaty" in which both would agree not ot use force against the other or to interfere with the other's internal affairs.
The proposal also said) "The two sides shall reach agreement on an appropriate form of international guarantee and supervision."
On the surface at least Vietnam's recent actions seem to meet Cambodia's conditions for talks. Phnom Penh, which has steadily claimed that the quarrel is not a simple border dispute but the result of Hanoi's ambitions to dominate the former French colonies in Indochina, has demanded Vietnam pull out its forces and promise that it will not attempt to bring the Cambodians under their political control.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] ly referred to China as "the enemy" and said it "made a wrong move and committed a blunder in [its] choice of allies."
The editorials, in shortwave broadcasts, did not name China directly.
Diplomats and observers agreed, however, that references to "international reactionaries" who have armed the Cambodian government since 1975 could refer only to the Peking government.
"It is crystal clear that the Cambodian authorities could not conduct this anti-Vietnam campaign alone," the latest editorial said.