I am so glad today to be able to join with HE Ambassador Bu Jianguo of the People’s Republic of China, Buddhist monks and our people in the official inauguration of the 140 Km long national road 44 running between the district of Chba Mon through those of Oral, and Thpong to the national road 5 at Udong. Along with the inauguration, I also take this opportune moment to bring it to your awareness of the importance of using traffic reflectors in the course of traffic safety efforts. Please allow me to express my pleasure with people in the province of Kompong Speu, who have transformed from bloody battlefields before with so much transport and road difficulties to the present state of infrastructural development. We have changed the state of being at war into one with safety, from the most difficult road condition or no road access to ones that people can travel in safety, comfort and saving.
I would take this opportune moment to express through HE Ambassador Bu Jianguo our gratefulness to the government of the People’s Republic of China for providing supports to infrastructural development, mainly roads and bridges, in the Kingdom of Cambodia. As of now, the Chinese assistance has put in operation 1,981 Km roads and another 676 km road is under construction. We have more roads projects underway. In my discussion with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, about two weeks ago, and my discussion with the Chinese Trade Minister in relation to Chinese financial assistance to Cambodia, I have made it my constant proposal for the Chinese friend to provide further support for Cambodia’s development, whereby connectivity is a major part of it.
Social and Economic Advantage of NR 44
For people in Kompong Speu province, they have reaped now the social and economic benefit from this infrastructural development. People can travel now between NR 4 and NR 5 without having to go on detour to Phnom Penh. Those who would like to go from the area along the national road 4 to the provinces of Kompong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, etc. will not need to take a long trip to Phnom Penh on detour anymore. NR 44 is therefore a shortcut for them. On the contrary, people in Battambang, Pursat, Kompong Chhnang, etc., who would have to go to Kompot or Takeo, Preah Sihanouk Ville or Koh Kong, also do not have to travel through Phnom Penh. The NR 44 is therefore serving interest not only people residing in the area but also those in various connected regions. This is serving internal connectivity purpose.
I would wish HE Ambassador to convey gratefulness on my behalf and those of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia to the government and people of China who always provide its support to development efforts in Cambodia without any political condition attached. I am also grateful to the fact that HE Ambassador kept her record jotted that in her three years diplomatic mission in Cambodia, she had 68 audiences with me. This should portray active comprehensive strategic relation between Cambodia and China. I am sure HE Ambassador has made great efforts in traveling and joining us in the groundbreaking and inauguration of various construction sites and achievements. In just days ahead, on 11 August, HE Ambassador will travel with us to seal the last connection of a bridge over the Bassac River before she will pay a farewell visit to me.
Bridges Built with Chinese Assistance, More Asked
As for bridges, our Chinese friend’s financial assistance built in all seven bridges in Cambodia, of which a length of 6,409 meters or about 6.5 Km of bridges built. We have requested for two more bridges and one of them is under price negotiation. It will connect one side of the Mekong at the district of Stoeung Trang to another side in the district of Kroch Chhmar of Kompong Cham province. Another bridge under negotiation is to connect one side of the Mekong in Kratie to another side in Kompong Thom province. They are major contributions to alleviating poverty and promoting socio-economic development of Cambodia. I have been so proud to work in comprehensive strategic partnership with the People’s Republic of China.
I would take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciations to the Ministry of Public Works and Transports, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, local authority and armed forces, as well as our people who contributed for the achievement of the NR 44. The Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Public Works and Transports have done their parts to provide counterpart funding for the project. As you know, for every project underway, we must contribute counterpart funding. What is even more significant that that is the fact that local and sub-national authority of Kompong Speu through which the road is running, collaboration of people residing along the road included, has resolved all impacts of the project.
I also have to express my appreciation for the peacekeeping operation troop of Cambodia who had involved in demining and removing UXOs in the project area. Cambodia went through war and there are still mines and UXOs everywhere that require inevitable expenses to remove them. We had actually cleaned up area of 8 million square meters and discovered 44 land mines, 74 unexploded ordnances, 650 Kg of various other metals. We can say that while building roads, we also provide safety through demining and removing UXOs for our people.
Searching for Peace in Kompong Speu’s Oral District
I am so happy to see this local connectivity concept is working. No one could have hoped that there could be road built here. While I am here, please allow me to speak a few things about our efforts to make peace from the Oral district. As far as Oral or Rolak Kang Joeung areas are concerned, no previous governments, under the French or Japanese times, could have controlled them. The areas are shelters from where the armed resistant groups against the governments could find their safe havens through to Samlot in Battambang. The area could be said central stronghold of the Khmer Rouge who fought against the rule of France and various other forces before 1970s. They were also shelters and fighting grounds after 1979, when we toppled the Pol Pot’s genocide.
There is one thing I wish to share with you today on how to search for peace in this region. We decided to try out a win-win policy here. General Keo Pung of the then Khmer Rouge forces, present here, was the first of his clan to exercise win-win policy with us. Minister of National Defense HE Tia Banh, HE Pol Saroeun and other leaders had been active in integration efforts in the Oral district. Gen. Keo Pong then quietly sent his children to study in Phnom Penh. He led military operation in the district of Oral and extended his coverage area to the southeastern part of Cambodia. He quietly travelled to Phnom Penh. When he finished working with us, he returned to the area.
Some on our side then said to me what if Keo Pung did not return or betrayed us. If he abandoned our plan, what should we do? I said if Keo Pung betrayed, he abandoned our plan, there would be nothing to lose or to gain. If Keo Pung were to stay or come to us, it is only him alone, and the Khmer Rouge side would only lose one man. They would have their force intact and control their vast areas. However, Keo Pung did the job successfully. In early 1996, weather was rather the coolest over many years, we integrated the Oral area to the national folds, and we started to infiltrate win-win theory to other parts of their strongholds like Pailin, Samlot, Kamrieng, Phnom Proeuk, Mealai, and more to further inside the country like Ta Ken Koh Sla […]
Implementation of the win-win policy required sacrifice of life trading for possible national achievement. Without peace, we could not build the NR 44. Keo Pung could have blown up every bridges built. It is a true story and a fact. This is part of the peace making history of Cambodia in this area started in 1996. Whether Keo Pung would return or not was in fact our key issue. We then had to make a decision. If we kept Keo Pung in Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge would only lose one man. If Keo Pung returned to his base, we stood before two possibilities – either he did not implement the plan or he did. That he did, we had the chance to end the war entirely. The integration for peace in Oral resonated to other parts of the Khmer Rouge’s strongholds.
Peace, Infrastructure Serves People’s Interests; Equitable Distribution of Growth
They accepted win-win policy proposal voluntarily and Cambodia ended war entirely in the late 1998. People are traveling everywhere now without fear. The fact that we built a road here creates numerous chances for people in Kompong Speu and facilitate transport sector from other parts of the country to our deep seaport at Preah Sihanouk Ville and southwestern parts of Cambodia. Transport cost comes down. We have also taken back the national road 4 from private investment and people no longer pay when they had to travel on it. From Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk Ville, travelers do not pay anymore. We also have more roads connecting to Kompong Chhnang and Pursat on one side and to Kompot, Kep, Kandal and Takeo on another side. Our Buddhist monks traveling any distance or direction would not be worried about missing his scheduled lunch anymore.
People in Cambodia would ask each other if there were a road to mean if they could make inroad to business or income. Even in exam, if people say there were to road, they meant it was hopeless. The fact that we had made efforts to build this road, we anticipated various chances for our people … It is a way to equitably distribute economic growth between urban and rural areas, the rich and the poor. We must be thankful to internal connectivity.
The ASEAN Lifetime Achievement Award
Today I have planned my trip to the southwestern part of the country to cover Kompong Speu, Kompot, Kep and Preah Sihanouk Ville. Last week I traveled to the Stoeung Treng and Kratie. The week before last, I was in the northwestern part of Cambodia – Battambang, Banteay Meanjei, Siem Reap and Kompong Thom. As for this coming Saturday and Sunday, I wish to inform our people that I have to travel to Laos, bringing along some deputy prime ministers …, where I will be presented with the ASEAN Lifetime Achievement Award. The first one to receive this award before me was a Sultan in one of the Malaysian state, and two Prime Ministers – former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia. Counted in the Sultan of Malaysia, I would be the fourth to receive the award. However, considering those bestowed as head of state, I would be the third one to receive it. I wish to share this honor and achievement with our Buddhist monks and people who support my leadership and politics in the international arena.
Sino-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Interests All Ten ASEAN Members
Leading a country could not be one with imagination or making promises. HE Ambassador of China just mentioned in her address about Sino-Cambodian relations. It is priority of Cambodia’s foreign policy to strengthen external partners, the People’s Republic of China included. In the framework of ASEAN, the Sino-ASEAN relation provides significant interest to ASEAN. It is in this interest and understanding that Cambodia always searches to coordinate to achieve harmonization in relation between ASEAN and China, and to further the already big trade relations between ASEAN and China. Export from China to ASEAN is smaller than that of ASEAN to China. Therefore, the strategic partnership between ASEAN and China serves interests of all ten ASEAN members […]
For the sake of ASEAN-China relations, and the Cambodia-China relation, whereby Cambodia is in the framework of ASEAN, this Saturday I am traveling to Vientiane as Laos is chairing ASEAN, to receive this lifetime achievement award. It is not by chance that I have this honor. It is an honor that we have from efforts made by our people who had voted for the Cambodian People’s Party and my candidacy for the post of Prime Minister. Result of leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party led by Hun Sen, and those of the would-be other party would be different. However, what have already happened – the national road as everyone can see and are inaugurating today, is one of the numerous achievements scored by the leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party and is directly under my leadership.
“Thank You” to Support and Voters of People of Kompong Speu
I wish to express my sincere thanks to the people of Kompong Speu as well as the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia for voting for the Cambodian People’s Party again. This has allowed me to have stronger ability to lead. It is not yet time of electoral campaign but I do hope that people here as well as in other provinces in the whole country will continue their supports and vote for the Cambodian People’s Party so that I will have more power to continue to lead the country […]
Safety Reflectors to Avoid Accident at Night
I am taking this chance to proclaim the campaign to use safety reflector among vehicles to avoid accidents at night […] To resolve traffic flow at night without light where accident occurred because of low visibility or invisibility of pushed tractors, carts, etc. we are launching campaign to stick 3.4 million safety reflectors. Our people should receive this reflector free of charge through the provincial and Royal Government working teams. They should bring them to you at home and will help you stick them […] I hope that Royal Government officials and armed forces, members of the Cambodian People’s Party to work hard on this. They will last for three years […]
The Chip Mong of Cambodia and Mitsubishi of Japan cooperated in printing them and offered 3.4 million of them to the Ministry of Public Works and Transports. Should we need more, we will find out how to get them for our people. I am warning people not to pay for sticker reflectors and if anyone comes to you to ask for money, please exercise citizen arrest for me. The local authority and officials, armed forces, moreover members of the Cambodian People’s Party must join in this campaign and bring them to people at home. I would seek our people to cooperate on four points. Firstly, please allow campaign working-team members to stick safety reflectors on your vehicles. Secondly, while travelling, allow campaign team to stop you and stick the safety reflectors to your vehicles. Thirdly, you do not have to answer to call for you to join a meeting just to stick the safety reflector stickers on your vehicles. Fourthly, pay no one for those stickers and bring them to my attention.
Launching Environmental Day “Natural Resource Protection”
… I will travel to all 24 provinces and cities to review mid-term achievements and identify challenges while bringing them solutions for our people. I would travel abroad three times in August – Laos, Malaysia and Timor-Leste. We will have a forum on environment and I have picked 22 August for it. We will launch this event to protect our natural resources. We will invite stakeholders from non-governmental organizations to join it. I will have a chat with them and take their questions about how to protect our natural resources together […] here we have a huge sugar factory which provides job and production for export. It also gives twenty megawatts electricity generated from waste of sugarcanes. The former battlefield has become a development zone. Protracted war has ended. New achievements come by the day. The NR 44 that links between the NR 4 and NR 5 facilitates lives of people residing along the road and those in connected areas./.