Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Gathering of Cambodian Overseas in Switzerland [Unofficial Translation]

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Never Leave Out Chances to Meet Cambodian Overseas

I am so happy to see our people everywhere I go. As I said in every other meetings, I would leave out some of the prescheduled meetings (on other businesses) but I would not leave my schedule to meet our people. It has always been my wish to do so. No matter how tired I could be I will still try to make such meeting possible. It is lucky that this hotel can house so many hundreds of us in one round. In some other venue, we had had to have two rounds of meeting. I do not hesitate to spare time for meeting you since you are living far away from the country and you wanted to know what is going on in the country […]

27th Anniversary of the Paris Peace Agreement

I am so happy that we all remember about the Paris Peace Agreement that is coming to its 27th anniversary today. At this time last year, we were still at the Kleber conference hall in Paris […] the signing ceremony there underwent in the presences of the Secretary General of the United Nations (Javier) Pérez de Cuéllar, the French President Francoise Mitterrand, and representatives from many other countries […] you may remember that at the phase of implementing the agreement, the Secretary General of the United Nations was Boutros Boutros-Ghali. I wish to take this moment to share what I did and I knew with you (since I was one of the main actors in the whole process) with you all here for reasons that some of you may have not known about or understood it fully […]

No Demonstration against Hun Sen in Geneva?

Before going further on that matter, I have a strange impression on one point and that is why there were no demonstration against me (here in Geneva)? It is a bizarre development. It has been their regular ways of holding demonstrations against me everywhere I go. Holding demonstration against me is a normal development. Not holding one, is something bizarre. Is it their wills to hold no demonstration or is it that they could not mobilize people […] in 1998, he called on the US to send their missiles into my house, why could he not organize demonstration against me. That is normal. What is bizarre is that here in Geneva, I do not see one. We may find out at a later stage […]

Knowledge of the Past and Present to Predict the Future

… First of all we may ask this question why it is necessary to have the Paris Peace Agreement. Some have already known about it but they choose to ignore. However, we also have younger generation who have no knowledge or idea about why. It has already been 27 years and even my granddaughter also could not have known about it. We must learn about our history. Should we not have a good knowledge of history, we could not get a direction on where to go and what to do. Possessing historic facts means you have to know of the past and the present, based on which you will be able to predict what will be the future […] we can say in short that were there no coup on 18 March 1970 to overthrow Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the regime of Lon Nol could not have happened and war would not have erupted […]

Hope Europe Would Not Go for a Third Mistake on Cambodia

If there were no war between the regime of Lon Nol and the National Liberation Front, from whom Pol Pot plundered power at the later stage, there would not be the regime of genocide of Pol Pot. There would be no need to overthrow the regime of Pol Pot. All in all, we must see that the root cause of this whole issue is the coup on 18 March 1970 to remove Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who was then the legal head of state. It is in this development that I have reminded the Europeans not to go for a third mistake on Cambodia.  Their first mistake as democratic countries was to support a military coup in Cambodia. Their second mistake was to support Pol Pot to sit in the United Nations for 12 years, after we brought it down. They also placed Cambodia in embargos. I wish that they would not do a third mistake […]

Solving Problems by Peaceful Means

… We made great efforts to liberate the country from the regime of Pol Pot’s genocide but we had to face with continuing war […] ending a war we could have some guerrilla activities but we had to fight with Khmer Rouge because certain countries continued their direct supports at the United Nations. That was why we had had to find out chance for negotiation. I never have a belief that one could end a war by making a war. My philosophy was to revolve issues by peaceful means. Since when I was Foreign Minister, I always sought out for dialogues. It was a lucky thing that the former head of state and King – Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk had chosen me as his dialogue partner since when I was Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. He might have seen in me not a defiant person. He could have had this sense that Hun Sen was one of the hundreds of thousands that responded to his call to join resistant movement against foreign intervention after the coup on 18 March 1970.

Negotiation Attempts Planned and Failed

There were many attempts for the negotiation to take place prepared by French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson in Paris. After my visit to Sweden, I continued my journey to France to get myself ready for a meeting with Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who went to the United Nations. He later issued a communique asking for understanding from Hun Sen because the planned meeting was opposed. That was mainly from the Khmer Rouge. At that time, the King-Father was President of the tripartite coalition government (of Democratic Kampuchea) with seat at the United Nations. They used the Khmer Rouge’s flag and Constitution […] the planned meeting failed. The noticeable point here is that the King-Father and I never abandoned efforts to meet. On 14 January 1985, I became Prime Minister. I had bigger ability to strive for political solution by peaceful means, with supports of Samdech Heng Samrin, Samdech Chea Sim, HE Say Phuthong, and many others. On his part, the King-Father had so many difficulties because he was in the tripartite coalition with Khieu Samphan (of the Khmer Rouge) and Son San’s faction (KPNLF) […]

Four Basic Norodom Sihanouk – Hun Sen Agreements

I wish to take this chance to express my sincere thanks again to sister Pung Chhiev Gech who is now chairwoman of LICHADO. At that time her husband was Ambassador to Angola. They had made many efforts for such meeting between Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and me to happen. Finally, the first such meeting happened on 2 December 1997 at Fère-en-Tardenois. The meeting was an opening way-out. There would be no ones to replace the two important actors for such meeting. In those days, even ASEAN opposed to the meeting. Later, in January 1988, we had another meeting in SaintGermain-en-Laye [...]

After such meetings, there was then current in ASEAN […] in the course of holding such meetings with Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, we had reached four basic agreements – the Sihanouk – Hun Sen Fère-en-Tardenois Declaration – which is a kind of agreement. The second agreement reached in Bangkok in early 1990 by Sihanouk, not in the name of tripartite coalition, and Hun Sen in relation to the establishment of Supreme National Council (SNC) […] the third agreement signed by Sihanouk and Hun Sen in Tokyo was boycotted by Vice President and Foreign Minister Khieu Samphan (of Democratic Kampuchea) […]

SNC – Hun Sen’s Idea

Let me talk a little about SNC to clarify to you that it is not completely a product by foreign partners. It has to be a combination between international efforts and those of Cambodians. The big (five) and other countries, including that of (former foreign minister of Australia) Gareth Evans had worked on what agreed by the Cambodian factions. They have become document produced by the big five (countries). Originally, SNC was Hun Sen’s idea to create a supreme reconciliation council, for which I proposed to have three vice presidents. The tripartite coalition government denied it. Later, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh of Thailand, who found the idea was rational had convened a meeting in Bangkok. The meeting only changes its name from Supreme Reconciliation Council to Supreme National Council […]

Let me remind you that the Paris conference (on political settlement of Cambodia) did not start in 1991 but in August 1989 […] the meeting went on for about one month and did not reach any solution […] in 1989, we already had co-chairmen of the Paris Conference – France and Indonesia, along with the special representative of the United Nations and some countries. The Paris Agreement failed but that did not means the conference in Paris ended. It continued. The big five then started to intervene by introducing a document put together by former foreign minister of Australia Gareth Evans […]

Calling on Ceasefire and Stop of Foreign Military Assistances

Let me remind how difficult we moved in military aspect (of the Paris Peace Agreement). I always called for involved factions to implement ceasefire and to stop receiving foreign military assistances. I always did that in every negotiation because I do not wish to see more Cambodians killed. I asked for a ceasefire. However, unfortunately so with the Khmer Rouge, they disagreed. In the Paris Agreement it is required to disarm, to mobilize and demobilize soldiers […] I may share a story. With leaders in the Party and Government (in Phnom Penh), we had discussed about how much do we demobilize our soldiers. The figure came at 20% and 30% if it was too tough.

In the negotiation in Jakarta, I proposed to every faction to come with maximum number of troops they were ready to demobilize. I placed on the table the Phnom Penh’s commitment to 30%. The Khmer Rouge and others in the tripartite coalition government proposed that each faction should keep only 2,000 soldiers […] I asked to the Special Representative of the United Nations “would demobilization also apply to police, militia?” He said no […] through my discussion with then HE Tia Banh, Defense Minister, and HE Hor Namhong […] I decided that we should go for 70% demobilization […] I asked Hor Namhong to invite (Jean-David) Levitte of the French Foreign Affairs to a breakfast with me. I said to him what the big five think if we work for the demobilization of 70% of the troops? Levitte said in joy “that is excellent.” […] I asked him to bring the proposal to Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk so that he could raise it in the meeting. I promised to support him right away […]

The Cake Came Back to Hun Sen

Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk brought the matter up saying that the big five wished that we demobilize 70% of our troops, what would you all think? I raised my hand to support the proposal. Khieu Sampohan also did. Ranaridh also did. Son San also did. You can say that it was like a cake made by Hun Sen got sent to someone and sent back to Hun Sen to eat. If I were to propose the idea, those factions would definitely oppose it […] finally, no faction implemented it. The State of Cambodia unilaterally demobilized 30,000 of its troops and 240,000 militiamen. We kept only 110,000 soldiers and 40,000 policemen […] with this number of soldiers and policemen, we were able to keep a reasonable size of force. We were able to keep situation under control […] closer to the elections, the Khmer Rouge force opened attacks. I told (UNTAC head) Akasi to close his eyes. I would have to return the fight […]

UNTAC Left Cambodia with Two Control Areas and Governments

Our strategy was to prevent the return of Pol Pot’s regime. Finally, I had succeeded to dissolve the Khmer Rouge politically and militarily through win-win policy. It is true that UNTAC came and helped Cambodia at least to bring together three out of four groups together to implement the Paris Peace Agreement. That has brought about national institutions that we have at present. In the Paris Agreement, the final stage of UNTAC mission was when the Constitutional Assembly transforms into the National Assembly. That means UNTAC finished its mission (when the transformation is over).

On 24 September 1993, we entered into force the new Constitution, or the Constitutional Assembly had become a National Assembly, and we declared re-coronation of HM the King. UNTAC withdrew on the night of 24 September, while the farewell banquet was still on at the Chan Chhaya palace […] what the Paris Peace Agreement wishes to implement, UNTAC could not fulfill it. They spent over two billion USD and left Cambodia with two control areas and governments. War went on. Let us not forget that […] UNTAC did a great deal for Cambodia but they left the war to go on […] in the end, we ended the problem by the Cambodian solution – win-win policy.

29 December 1998 – The Khmer Rouge Cabinet Surrendered

On 20 June 1977, I traded my life again […] it was a Sunday. I stayed in bed till 8am. Learning that I woke up, my mother and my grandaunt went into my room and said to me “that you are going to their territory, are you not afraid of being shot to death?” […] I consoled my mother and grandaunt “mom, grandaunt! If that happened, only I and a few of my colleagues would die. However, if I were to survive, I would come back with a whole (unified Cambodian) land.” […] this year on 29 December 2018, we are going to have a big celebration of the 20th anniversary of the day that we ended war through implementing the win-win policy. Why do we pin that day? It was the day when Head of State and Prime Minister Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and the Khmer Rouge cabinet surrendered […] you may remember that. War did not end at the beginning of 1998 […]

… Let me phrase my strategy in an English letter abbreviation – DIFID or Divide, Isolate, Finish, Integrate, and Develop. We ended a situation of one country by many control areas […] you may want to read the Khmer history, for instance the Great Khmer Heroes. It had been hundreds of years that the country was divided. Three Kingdom saga did not happen only in China. In Cambodia, that had happened in about 1470, in the time of Preah Srey Raja, son of Preah Punhea Yaat […] from 29 December 1998, Cambodia has become a country of one rule, one Constitution, one King, one Royal Government, and one armed force. This is the case for the first time in many hundreds years of history. I did not bring it up to present myself as a hero but that is the truth […] the celebration will go on from 29 through to 31 December, to go into the new year at the win-win palace that we built on a large land […]

CPP Members Need Not Push for Power from Hun Sen

There is this article from a newspaper that someone sent to me. It said that Hun Sen seems to have prepared his elder son for the post of Prime Minister. However, in the immediate circumstance, there does seem to be any signs for that. I should tell you all why would a son need to be Prime Minister when his father still is? It is not logic. Members of the Cambodian People’s Party need not to push me out for power […] there is no such fight (for power) in the Cambodian People’s Party. Cambodia is a democratic country. I have no way of knowing about destiny of my son. If he is able to find people’s supports and votes, let him be. Previously I never wanted my son to involve in politics but I also never prohibit him. Like my granddaughter (who studied in the UK and came here) she told her granduncle sitting and asking her yesterday that she will go for political science before thinking of choosing other skills and/or professions […]

Reestablishment of Constitutional Monarchy

There may be a question why Hun Sen agree to have in the Constitution this reestablishment of Constitutional monarchy. Cambodia had once brought down the King and become a republic for 23 years. Why did you help the monarchy to come back? If it were not because of you, the monarchy would not be back. FUNCINPEC does not have force enough to revive the monarchy. There needs to be a unity between the Cambodian People’s Party and FUNCINPEC. As of this moment, FUNCINPEC does not even have a seat (in the National Assembly) but the monarchy is still strong. Why? Because of who? It is because of the Cambodian People’s Party who supports and defends it […]

I have been one of the people who reestablished the monarchy. I even said recently that anyone wishing to bring down the monarchy may have to step over my dead body first. I told my children to defend the throne and the monarchy. Some said it is outdated. Let us look at Belgium, I sat at the same table with the (Belgian) King. (It is a monarchy country) why it is making progress. Take the UK, why it is a developed nation. Last 15 October 2018, I went to the Royal Palace […] Samdech Yuvaneath came from the US for the ritual. We shook hands and he thanked me for protecting the royal families and monarchy. I told him “that is the obligation of the Prime Minister …” […]

Some criticized us. In our criminal code, whoever insults HM the King would be punishable. They wanted us to take that out of our law. It was nothing compared to what they would do in Thailand. Some brought insult on HM the King into Facebook […] the other day, there was one man living in Kompong Thom who did that and he is now in jail […] HM the King is the supreme person […] HM the King is the Head of State and in Cambodia, the head of state for a whole life […]

I am so happy to spend this much time with you. I know that (because) you supported the Royal Government and loved Cambodia that you came for this meeting. Some had gone to Cambodia to vote yourselves and some called and told your relatives in the country to go to vote to bring the strategy of “sleeping at home will win” to its defeat. In addition to this, you have told your relatives to vote for the Cambodian People’s Party to make it winning the whole house. In 1955, the King-Father won 82% of the votes. Hun Sen got 77.78% of the votes, lower than his, but in a tough competition with twenty political parties. This could be considered a “promising seed.”./.