Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the​ Meeting with Cambodian-Americans and Cambodian-Canadians [Unofficial Translation]

33

CNV: 

My humble respects to the Buddhist monks,
Dear Compatriots,

Am Here in the US and at the UN

I am so pleased to be able to meet all of you who have travelled long distances either in the US or from Canada today. I am asking myself now where I am actually. It is obvious that I am in America. I do not mean to rebuke anyone or to hurt his or her feeling. However, I think I need to say a few things to bring to light ways some politicians have confused people. After I had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, I went in to the Cambodian seat (in the UNGA). As soon as they had news of me arriving to the US, some had quickly spread their propaganda that the (United States of) America would not allow (me to) step in. As I am now standing here, I wonder what that person has said. I would wish him/her to explain to his/her supporters. They do not have to explain to those who support the Royal Government or Hun Sen […]

Secondly. They said that the Cambodian seat at the United Nations has been suspended. It was a cheap way to cheat […] thirdly, after I said who would have a big liver enough to withdraw the Cambodian UN seat. They said, if I am not mistaken to the VOA, that the UN would not withdraw the seat but would not allow Hun Sen to sit in the UNGA. In light of this, I just wish that the person explains the fact that Hun Sen is in fact here in the US and attending the UNGA delivering a speech to their supporters […]

Nationality Removal Threat for Support of CPP

I have said it before those joined demonstration never reached more than 10% of those who support me. It is a true story in America, in Europe, and in Australia. In 2016, when I joined a meeting in California, there were many supporters. We also have so many today. This evening I will stay for wefie session with whoever wish to do so since you are here to see me, and to provide supports for the Cambodian People’s Party, and the Royal Government […] according to what I have heard, “they” have threatened to remove nationality (from those of you) who would dare to join the Cambodian People’s Party. I may ask President (Donald) Trump’s administration where political right would be, if nationality were to be removed if they were to support the Cambodian People’s Party. If it was true, would that define this country – a father of democracy – a fully democratic? That was not said by the Donald Trump’s administration but a small number of people, in opposition to Cambodia, who are taking shelters in the US and declared they would launch a mass demonstration […]

Thank You for Supporting Democracy

I thank our people for expressing their supports and encouragements on social media […] even singer Chhaom Chhovin from California. It is encouragement for people inside the country and also for me […] I have come here to deliver a statement at the United Nations. If I were not that busy with works inside the country, I would have done it once a year. So far, I did it in 1999, in 2005, 2015, and this year 2018 […] our works at the United Nations have not yet finished but I will leave them to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and our Ambassador […] please allow me to express my sincere thanks for our compatriots, some of whom had bought air ticket to cast his/her vote and some sent in messages on social media and/or call to their relatives to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party.

In so doing, you have fulfilled two important works for our nation – firstly, you implemented correctly democracy and liberal pluralism by either going to vote by yourselves or encouraging your relatives to go to vote to support democracy. The opposition leader, then he was in the US, was (working to launch) “clean finger” campaign […] however, as everyone can see, over 83% of registered voters had fulfilled their rights […] that would be the first job that Cambodian overseas have participated in supporting democracy and elections (in Cambodia) […]

Thank You for Voting to Safeguard Peace and Development

Secondly, you have chosen correctly to join together to keep peace and development. Voting for the Cambodian People’s Party is voting to keep the present peace and development. You may know that if the Cambodian People’s Party were not in power, we might not be able to predict what could have happened. Look in 2013, they hold demonstrations in almost one whole year aimed to overthrow (the elected Royal Government). They are lucky that the VDO clip in which they presented their treason and they aimed to realize by 29 December was not made available to us. If it were delivered to us on time, there would be a funeral for them. I would not forgive anyone for destroying Cambodia. I have said it clearly that at whatever cost at all I will not allow anyone to lead Cambodia back to war. I have been unfortunate. I became a soldier when I was 18 years old. In 105 battlefields I engaged, I was wounded five times and lost one eye and many of our people died […]

29 December 1998 – Ending War and Unifying Country

I had to trade my life once again by entering the Khmer Rouge stronghold […] my mother and grandaunt came to me and said before I left (for the mission) that I was to go to their area, did I not think of being killed? I replied to her “Mom, Grandaunt, if that happens, only I and a few of my me who accompany me would die. However, if we did it, we would have the whole land back.” It was not a folklore. It is a true story. This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the day when we ended war and unified our country. We have defined 29 December 1998 as the day we ended war through win-win policy. We will throw a big ceremony. We have been building a palace named after the win-win (policy). You may wanted to visit the palace. We have gathered and collated historical facts and displayed them there so that visitors can understand how hard it was to fight a war, to find and secure peace […]

For the Sake of Uniting, Not Dividing Cambodians

Dear compatriots, if anything that we can do we must not hesitate for the sake of uniting and not dividing Cambodians. When they accepted it was their mistakes, and if it is possible to forgive them, we should. In the framework of power given to Prime Minister, I have the right to pardon when the court’s decision goes into force. If the case is in the court’s hand, it would be a different matter. The prison law stipulates that Prime Minister has right to request pardon (for the convicted) from HM the King. Take for instance the case of Um Sam An. Let me remind him not to forget the letter he wrote. Meach Sovannara and other people should not too […] this year I wish for a large scale pardon to take place at the Phjum Ben traditional and Buddhist ceremony, the Independence Day, and the 20th Anniversary of the day that we ended civil war in Cambodia. The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice have been working on this […] I wish that Cambodians no longer insult one another […]

Imprisoned Cambodians to Send to Cambodia

Cambodians living in the US have rights to vote for the US President, the congressmen, etc. […] let me talk a little bit about the state of the Cambodian-American relations for you to understand (the cause of its present condition). It all started from philanthropy of the Royal Government. I am sure members of the Royal Government would see it as a pitiful thing for our people who have been jailed in the US and sent to Cambodia. Serving the prison term was one punishment but to be separated from family after that was another […] five of them killed themselves. It was in this understanding that I told Minister of Interior to reconsider and consult with the US on possible amendments on some points (of the agreement) […] I had gone through a time of separation and I know what it was like. I brought this issue up with the US but no amendments have been made and we also have not yet taken actions unilaterally to end this. However, it was beyond our comprehension that the US places us in a group of countries that do not cooperate.

That has pushed me to respond. The US has 91 soldiers missing and/or dead in Cambodia. We have accounted 41 of them. We still have 49 more to look for […] they reacted further to allow no visas for the Cambodian diplomats to the US. I declare then to suspend this search for MIA or dead US soldiers. The US may want to reconsider since the Cambodian diplomats do not have ability to tour the US. They are here to perform their duties in Washington and New York only […] however, the US should think of their citizens who have been waiting for their sons’ remain to come back to them. It all came from this problem. It was nothing to do with the treacherous persons […] I help mobilized Vietnam and Laos to cooperate in the search for the US soldiers remains. I do not wish to see my humanitarian efforts since 1994 (failed). I did this matter with the National League of POW/MIA Families led by Ann Mills Griffiths since when Cambodia had not yet resumed diplomatic relations with the US […]

Priority One – Maintain Political Stability

Let me now share with you some work priorities of the Royal Government. I would pick only a number of issues for you to get a gist of the whole efforts we are making. Firstly, our priority, not only for the present, but also in the future, is to secure political stability and macro-economy. They are two strings of one knot. They cannot be separated. Without political party, it is clearly impossible to develop a country. Without stable macro-economy, we cannot ensure political stability. It is in this understanding that the Royal Government must pay attention to defending political stability, security, and social order to guarantee so that our people can live peacefully […]

Priority Two – Maintain Macroeconomic Stability

We at the same time must pay attention to macroeconomic management. The economic bomb would kill more people than the traditional kind. The B52 bombs killed but not the whole country. However, the economic bomb would affect many, even babies in mothers’ wombs. Inflation would go high. You may want to follow what happen in Venezuela for that matter. The Royal Government has been taking extra precautions on macroeconomic management. As always, Hun Sen adheres to two strategies – political and macroeconomic stability. We have done many things to ensure purchasing power of the money that our people have earned […] while we are releasing a large amount of Riel currency into the market (cause of early payday for Phjum Ben), we may have to reschedule payday of November and December upwards […] starting from January 2019, we no longer pay once a month but every two weeks. We also are negotiating about basic salary of our workers, which I will decide upon my return […]

Works to Do After Seasonal and Rainy Flooding

Let me return to what I said about the first job for the Royal Government to do, not for the first 100 days but for over 400 months that I have been doing this job as Prime Minister […] this year, Cambodia has been hit by flooding […] the seasonal flooding this year has not been as high as the one in 2000. Though flooding in Soeung Treng, Kratie and Kompong Cham was higher than warning level, flooding in Chadomuk, Prek Kadam, Bassac, and Neak Loeung were at a normal level. More so, the level of water in Tonle Sap is lower than expected. Infrastructure and crops were destroyed and we are facing with efforts to restore them. We must focus on providing our people with seeds they need. We must work with micro-financial institutions on postponement of their loans to the people. We have areas affected by rain water such as Phnom Penh, Prek Thnaot, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Kompot, Kompong Som, Koh Kong, Pusath, Battambong, and Banteay Meanjei. The most severe damages have national roads and dirt roads. They will ask for lots of expenses. We must do the job as soon as water recedes […]

7.2% Growth, 3.1% Inflation, Packaging National Budget in October

This year however the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) has just forecast Cambodian economy to achieve a 7.3% growth, with an inflation of 3.1%. We have set our goal to realize only 7% economic growth and a 3.5% inflation. In light of this forecast, our economy is still in good momentum […] as for the third work to do, the Minister of Economy and Finance will have to stay in the country – he cannot accompany me to foreign countries – to ensure packaging our budget to seek approval in October. You may see that Deputy Prime Minister (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Aun Porn Moniroth will not join me on trips to Japan, Indonesia and Europe. The main goal of our budget law is keep the pace of our macroeconomic management at 7% growth […]

Incomes from Custom and Domestic Sources

As far as our income infrastructure is concerned, in the 1990s, about 80% of our incomes came primarily from customs, and about 20% from domestic sources. We have now transformed that. Incomes from custom source stays at 40% and from domestic sources has gone up to 60% […] in the time to come, our domestic sources of income will continue. We need it to increase to a certain level. When we sign a regional free trade agreement with ASEAN, or what we call comprehensive economic partnership ASEAN + China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, our incomes from customs will be smaller. We then need to quantify our incomes from domestic sources. However, having said that, I am not going to increase tax on agricultural land. That may have to be something for the next Prime Minister to do. As for me, I am not going to tax the Cambodian farmers.

Lifetime Four Heritages from Hun Sen

I have left at least in my lifetime four heritages (for Cambodia) – firstly, I overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime and saved our people; secondly, I took part in negotiation to secure the Paris Peace Agreement; thirdly, through win-win policy, I ended war in Cambodia and unified our land and water; and fourthly, I took part in building this country from scratch, from centrally planned economy to free market economy, and I have left Cambodian people with ownership titles of their land and tax-free agricultural land. I am also working now on social protection policy, and the first beneficiary is women in pregnancy […]

Addressing Disequilibrium of Demand and Supply

We have a lot of works to do and ground to cover. Disequilibrium to address in national construction are far too large and extensive to cover. We have made efforts to address them to respond to the people’s aspiration. However, those disequilibrium have now changed too. Where we may not have sufficient food, and people are in need of it. We may have less number of schools than number of children to take up studies or there are higher demand for healthcare services than we can provide. They have now changed dimensions. Take for instance, for the sake of comparison, we now have more cars than our road can accommodate […] more people are in need of travelling and we could not provide them with (affordable public) transport means. From one stage to another, such disequilibrium have transformed to a different challenges […] we have done the best we can to find money to expand our small roads, and even to borrow money from other for that matter.

Speaking of which, can someone check for me how much a US citizen owes foreign debt? Over 40,000 USD? In Cambodia, foreign debt is only at 400 USD per person […] the debt ceiling has been allowed at 40% of GDP and ours is at 23% of GDP, including the Lon Nol’s debt to the US. We have asked the US to convert it to development aid for Cambodia. I brought this matter up with former President Barack Obama when he was in Cambodia. He said it was difficult for him to explain to the US congress. I said to him in fact it was me who has difficulties to explain it because the Lon Nol’s government supported by the US overthrew then head of state Preah Norodom Sihanouk, whose son is now in the throne, firstly, Secondly, what should I tell my people who suffered from the US bombardments? And thirdly, what can I tell the National Assembly? […]

Poor for Wrong Leadership and Weak Human Resource

We have the need to develop our nation and to do so we need human resource. Without human resource, we would not be able to achieve this wish. Let us see our country – they call Cambodia a Sovana Phum (the village of gold) but we are still very poor. Two main factors that continue to suffer Cambodia are (1) wrong leadership and (2) weak human resource. These are the two causes that we must see. We do not blame former leaders. I did not make mistake in the past. I was a victim of the leader – Lon Nol, who decided to launch a coup to overthrow Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk. I never imagine too that I am the one to extinguish the flame of war (made by the previous generation).

At 7% Growth, End of Term, Per Capita Income Will Be 2,000 USD

After liberating the country, we stood up but was one of the poorest nations with incomes less than one hundred USD per annum. We have now become a lower middle-income country, for which income level has been readjusted to 1,200 USD per annum. Our country has come to 1.560 USD per annum and I hope that by end of the new legislative term Royal Government, Cambodian people per capita income will reach 2,000 USD. Based on our growth of 7% per annum, to achieve this goal is not too hard. We will go on with strict economic management, reform and fight against corruption and unproductive phenomena that are causing backwardness to our economy […]

Development Cause Environmental Impacts

Between development need on the one hand and environmental impact has become a question. On one side our people are in need of land for agricultural purpose and they need to remove forest. We have to let them have land for agricultural purpose. To allow that, we have to let them clear forest. We have a growing population. We have changed mode of production from extensive to intensive farming to feed more people with available land of cultivation from the past. We address our farmers’ need for irrigation and for seed to allow them to cultivate rice more than one time per year. Despite these efforts, demand of land for cultivation continue to increase. It is understandable, because soon enough Cambodia will reach 20 million population. You may want to do the math, at 400,000 birthrates per year, time ten years, we will have another 4 million people. By the time I retire, perhaps, in ten years, we will have a population of about 20 million […]./.