Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Leadership Appointment Ceremony of the Royal Academy of Cambodia and Presentation of New Academician Members

[Unofficial Translation]


Royal Academy of Cambodia Progress in Nearly 20 Years

I am so happy today to join with all of you to bestow upon four new full right academician members – HE Aun Pornmuniroth, HE Hang Chuon Naron, HE Hing Thoraksi, and HE Chan Samnap, of the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC). I also take this opportune moment to congratulate new titles and roles of HE Aun Pornmuniroth who will become President, and HE Hang Chuon Naron and HE Sok Touch, who will become Vice Presidents. I also congratulate HE Chan Samnop for his promotion to the position of Vice President of the RAC. As for HE Khlot Thida, former President of RAC, is now taking up her role as my advisor. I am taking this chance to express my sincere thanks to her leadership, after her taking over from former President Sorn Samnang up to the present. Their efforts have brought RAC to the present progress in the past nearly twenty years.

It is true that RAC came into being under my premiership and people may see that it could be my own child. I am so sorry that in the past years, as a father, I have not paid enough attention on it. However, as you can see, we have moved the construction equipments in for opening of the construction site already. I am asking HE Sok Touch to find the best time to celebrate the Krong Pealy session (session held to seek permission from concerned spirits) to build an office building suitable for intellectuals who are going to work here.

What I have to say to HE Khlot Thida is that after the demise of Samdech Vibol Panha Sok An, the late President of the Academician Members Council, you have requested that I take up the position of the President of the Academy. I think that would place you and me in a difficult situation. You are already in retirement a few years back now, considering your public function age. I would not be able to shoulder the jobs of an Honorary President at the same time as the President of RAC […] after my discussion with Academician Sok Touch I have come to a decision. I am seeking understanding from other academician members that I did not consult with them. I had to bring the matter to the attention of HM the King to bestow HE Aun Pornmoniroth, HE Hang Chuon Naron full right academicians. The main idea of this plan is to resume position held by Samdech Vibol Panha Sok An, while I continue to be academician member.

HE Sok Touch to Lead RAC

We are working at this stage to organize everything in accordance with the statute and regulation existed in the RAC concerning its roles and functions. Prior to my departure to Japan, I had seen that HE Hing Thoraksi appointed academician member. After my trip, I approved the proposal from Academician Sok Touch to appoint Chan Samnop academician member and Vice President of RAC. We now have a whole body of the institution set up. Academician Aun Pornmoniroth will be chairman of the Academician members, HE Hang Chuon Naron and HE Sok Touch will be deputy chairmen. HE Sok Touch will also be permanent Vice President of RAC […]

Please allow me to have your attentions on this point that you may see that three out of four Academicians here are educated in former the Soviet Union and only one in France. It is not discrimination. I hope that in the time to come our academician members will continue to recruit members according to RAC’s statute and formality. There will be 79 academician members in all. I would leave this job to academicians President, Vice President, and members to see what they will do on that […]

What we should note here is we are reaping the fruits from trees that we planted some 38 years ago. This has brought me to a memory that when we liberated Phnom Penh, there were not many intellectuals left. We had sought for them and put them all to whatever positions their expertises can be of help for the country. As then Foreign Minister I the worked hard with three people to build the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Every other institution also started with bare hands […]

Whenever I was on a foreign trip, I never forget to as relevant countries for scholarships. In my meeting with then Foreign Minister of the former Soviet Union, Andrei Gromyko, who was then 72 years old, and I was 27 years old, I brought my request to his attention that Cambodia needed scholarships the most. That was why we could send many for education in the former Soviet Union, and in former East Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, there later. Local training of human resource also continued […]

Chance for Youth

… We need to give chance to youth. We must allow those in junior positions to access chance to go up. Only we do that, we will be able to put together a national movement for the construction of our country with ample intellectual resource […] there was a time, when I was Foreign Minister, whenever someone was incapable in his job, they would propose to me to make them ambassadors. I then had to clarify that how could we do that because those guys would ride in cars that hold the national flags beside HM the King, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and/or Minister of National Defence […]

We offered chances for our youth in those days to continue their studies in foreign countries and inside the country too. We have now passed the time when those who knew more would teach those who knew less, and those who knew less would teach those who did not know. I am bringing this matter up just to portray our development, and so that each one of us can rethink about our personal development from the time of weakness and lack of education to the present one of strength and knowledge. With those efforts that we have made, we lead our country out of destruction, from the city of Phnom Penh, where there were only 70 people, to the city that is growing as any others.

We have brought poverty level from 100% to within 13%. We have made this country’s per capita income at 200 USD per annum in 1998 reach 1,300 USD in 2016. We are not yet satisfied with these achievements. We are doing to reach to new level. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, I thank him for promising to work with me, said many words of encouragements and assured assistance so that Cambodia would realize its goal of becoming a middle-income country in 2030 […]

RAC and Relevant Institutions Should Be of Mutual Assistance

… I am calling on academician Sok Touch to conduct reform in necessary fields to make RAC a serious institution. Failing to do so would leave a bad example for other institutions as RAC would be the highest place where the country’s brains gather. I wish to see that RAC would be of assistance to other institutions and other institutions would be in kind reciprocation. They should be of mutual assistance. One institution that is working with me always is the Supreme National Economic Council, which HE Aun Pornmoniroth also chairs. My children had some exposures from it too. We have another one with CAP as an abbreviation, where many educated brains are in it […] it would be difficult to work with intellectuals because they would have different opinions on things but it is important to gather them together and even more so to work together […]

Appealing to Laos to Withdraw Troops Unconditionally from Cambodian Territory

I have a strong belief that our youth will be taking active parts in the leadership of RAC and continuing to implement reforms in any sectors they see fit. Should there need to have royal decrees, or sub-decree, we could also do that to make RAC a working structure. There is one other thing I have to share with all of you today. If I choose to keep it away from you, our neighbour friend would continue to stay the way they are doing now. Since April, our Laotian friends sent their force into the Cambodian territory in O Alai area of Stoeung Treng province on reason of obstructing construction of road on our side. We are building road on our land, and Laotians stopped us. They crossed the Mekong to stay on our side. I order our military engineering teams to stop the construction eventually but the Laotian troops continue to stay.

In May, prior to my meeting with President Xia Jinping, I made a phone call to Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos from Beijing. I told him my clear position that Laos must withdraw its troops. I told him we at the top level would understand each other but people down the line would not. We agreed to send out joint border committee to visit the place. The Laotian committee did not show up for reason that his boat was impassable. We failed to sort out the problem. I just wrote a few days ago a letter to the Laotian Prime Minister requesting Laos to withdraw its troop that is stationing across the Sekong River, on the Cambodian side. That is unacceptable and unforgiveable. We have been so patient.

… Please circulate and make public my letter that I sent to Laos. I have ordered the Governor of Stoeung Treng to meet with the Governor of Lao Attapeu province to seek withdrawal of its troops. I told HE Prak Sokhon, after we fly the ASEAN flag to celebrate the fiftieth founding anniversary, to meet with Lao Ambassador. I would be ready to fly to Laos anytime to meet with the Lao Prime Minister to clarify the matter. I just want his clear answer whether Laos will or will not withdraw its troop? I am seeking our people’s understanding and awareness if they see troop movements towards the border area with Laos […] I have issued my order to commander in chief Pol Saroeun, Defence Minister Tia Banh … Should there be any problem, they may not reproach Cambodia. However, before anything would happen, I would have to go meet Lao Prime Minister. If he would not want to see me, Laos would have to withdraw its troop. I did write. I did call […]

Lao Troop to Withdraw in Six Days

I sent them a letter. I have not received a reply yet. I am conveying a message from here to HE Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos, to withdraw Lao troops from Cambodian territory unconditionally. The ultimatum will be on 17 August, or six days from today. To avoid conflict they have to withdraw troop. Confusing may be happening on land area but this is the case of crossing the river to our side. I have no argument for my people. We are being gentle diplomatically and politically, but we will have to take measure when it is necessary.

… We are not going for conflict but they do not withdraw their troop. We have allowed this issue to go on for four months already, since April. There is nobody at its back. Should there be one, we would have to go for it too. I would not doubt there is anyone behind it. Importantly, they themselves are doing it […] Friends we are but we have to keep up national sovereignty. Being in charge of foreign and domestic policies, especially defending independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, I find this gross position unacceptable and unforgiveable if they do not withdraw their troops on schedule. It is time to act. We will give it until 17 August […]

We Would Go to Court, But First Withdraw Troops

If it is unclear as who own the land, let us go to court in The Hague to avoid bloodshed. However, Laos must withdraw its troops first. They cannot talk about being friend and continue to send (their soldiers) in. Did they do that because we are busy with the elections? I am sorry that I have brought this issue up before intellectuals. However, it is a place where the best brains of the country are. As the country’s leader, I have had to bring it out or people would criticize me for being shutting up. Please understand that that I have been silent and patient was because I did not want to have a war with anyone, whatever country it may be […] let me reaffirm to our people if they see any troop movements and/or anything happens, please note that we have the necessity to defend Cambodia independence, and national sovereignty …/.