Speech Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Welcoming Meeting for Delegation of 44th Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) 2017

[Unofficial Translation]

… Once again, please allow me to express warm welcome to everyone of you who have come to visit Cambodia. I wish to express my sincere sympathy to youth delegation from the Socialist of Vietnam for a disaster caused (by a typhoon) loss of nearly a hundred lives. There are still victims went missing while the country is hosting a big APEC meeting, and APEC-ASEAN dialogue for the first time. Before my departure to join those meetings, I have made it my obligation to meet all 29 Cambodian delegations of SSEAYP 2017. As usual, since 2000, I always offered a meeting for the Cambodian delegation to meet me and shared with them what I thought would be useful for them […]

A Correct Vision of former Japanese and ASEAN Leaders

We must bow in respect of visions of former leaders of Japan from over 40 years ago for setting up this youth relation and exchange with this Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese youth. It has come to its 44th generation now. It is a long-term vision and it deserves respect. Though regional and world situation were not certain in those days, those generations of leaders of Japan, from one political party to another, always adhere to this vision through to today. Please allow us to give our high evaluation and respect for the vision and those leaders […]

The vision has based on a fact that there were two, or even three factions, under one ASEAN roof – the five existing ASEAN nations, and the three Indochinese countries, which were still at war. In those days, Brunei was not yet an independent nation. Myanmar was also on a different page. Leaders of ASEAN in those days set out though a realistic vision for an association of nations in Southeast Asia. It was beyond imagination. Countries, formerly in confrontation, especially Indochina and ASEAN, in the times of Indochinese war and the later of confrontation and reconciliation in the 1980s, where Cambodia was at the forefront and last battle of war in the region, have made themselves all under one ASEAN roof now.

Grateful to Leaders for Respecting Central Role of ASEAN

I am so happy and highly evaluate the vision of the founding fathers of ASEAN […] Southeast Asia has now become a unified body and a centre of coordination in the region. Take for instance, East Asia. […] The ASEAN rotating chair-country is also chairing the East Asian Summit […] This has shown the central role that ASEAN has played and respects that countries in the world offered to ASEAN. The ASEAN summit is to take place on 12 November in the Philippines […] Cambodia, because of its difficulties in the past, had become the last one in the region to join ASEAN in 1999. However, Cambodia hosted ASEAN Summits twice already – in 2002 and again in 2012. We will definitely host the ASEAN Summit again in 2022 […]

Four Basic Reasons for Cambodia Joining ASEAN

… I have shared with the Cambodian youth always before they set to depart for SSEAYP journey. I explained to them why as Prime Minister, Hun Sen was determined to join ASEAN, and committed with other leaders to strengthen this regional body. As the cold war drew to its end, there was this tendency of confrontation evolved into cooperation and confrontation form. Countries have opted for confrontation and negotiation, leading to cooperation. Major countries had changed their strategies from confrontation to cooperation. They sat down and resolved problems together. Countries in the region had had to find ways to make their relations with one another work […]

What are the factors that brought Cambodia into ASEAN? […] I am talking only about the case of Cambodia. There are four factors as followed:

Firstly, there is this principle of non-interference in internal affairs of one another. This is important and I think that countries in the world, members of ASEAN included, see this as their requirements too […]

Secondly, there is this spirit of community. We work on consensus principle. It is a huge point here. It offers us a chance to implement this principle of equal right and footing. In ASEAN, we do not have big brother. It is unlike in other region that they otherwise do. In ASEAN, we have democracy and I am proud of it. No one think that Indonesia is a bigger nation with the most population should lead or Singapore with the biggest income should lead. We follow a principle of consensus and have mutual respect […] that is the very good point of ASEAN.

I may send a message to anyone who would become leaders in ASEAN countries, no matter at what level they may be, not to amend the Constitution, which embodies the consensus principle. Should they change it to base their decision on voting, they would face division […] In Cebu, the Philippines, we did many discussions and found out that we have no other way to follow the consensus principle, which would guarantee ASEAN free from division. That is what I am talking about spirit of community. We guarantee there would be continued equal right and footing for every member state.

Thirdly, it is for Cambodia’s socio-economic development. Singapore, while hosting the ASEAN summit in 2000, proposed the ASEAN integration initiative to reduce gap between existing members and those new member states. We are now in its third stage. It does help the new states a lot […] existing members of ASEAN played very important role in propping up new ASEAN member states, mainly in the field of human resource development.

Fourthly, it gives Cambodia a diplomatic option. ASEAN has so many partners ranging from European Union to other “Plus Three” countries. While becoming ASEAN member, automatically, a country has partnering relation with other countries who are partners of ASEAN. Among ASEAN nations, only Indonesia is a member of G20 countries but whole G20 convened its meeting, an ASEAN rotating chair-country will also represent others in that meeting.

It is for the first time now that Vietnam proposed an initiative to convene a consultative meeting to create a dialogue between ASEAN and APEC, as three countries of ASEAN – Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, have not been members of APEC yet. I am calling on APEC today to accept the three countries since they have already hold observers statuses already […] we are expecting a full-fledged dialogue between ASEAN and APEC […]

Japan Contributes to Reducing ASEAN Members Gap

Let me also affirm that beside the above roles, Japan also did so many things to help in contribution for the gap reduction in the forum of Japan and three countries Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam or Japan-CLV. Now, we also have a mechanism between Japan and the Mekong nations, the first meeting of which was in 2015. This year, we will have such a meeting in Manila right away. The forum offers chance for Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand to reap opportunity for further development […]

Prime Minister for Thirty Years by People’s Supports

I am able to sit here for thirty plus year not because of guns or dictatorship. The most brutal dictator Pol Pot survived only three years, eight months and twenty days. As for Hun Sen, including also foreign minister posting, has held power for 39 years, not because of arms but because of people’s supports. We are determined to process of democracy. We are seeking other countries not to interfere in our country’s internal affairs. We know who we are.

We will launch the Senate elections on 25 February 2018. We will organize the general elections on 29 July 2018, with or without helps from outside. Our law obliges us to carry them through and as long as the Cambodian people recognize it, it is good enough for the country. The National Elections Committee (NEC) will declare provisional result. Then the Constitutional Council will sort out the remaining issues. NEC will pronounce the final decisions. HM the King will convene the first session of the National Assembly. All will be fine and over. It is within the power of our country. No other Constitution or laws from other country matter here […]

Setting for APEC and ASEAN Summits

I know that would stay in houses of Cambodians and you may have chance to taste Cambodian fish paste. It is good and it is as good as cheese. It is made of fish. Thailand ordered lots of fish paste, dried smoked fish from Cambodia. Two-way trade between Thailand and Cambodia is 5.4 billion USD, in which 1,000 billion USD is from Cambodia to Thailand. Two-way trade with Vietnam stands at 3.5 billion USD, of which about 500 million USD is from Cambodia to Vietnam. We are working on these trade issues among ASEAN member states […]

I will meet with Laotian Prime Minister HE Thongloun Sisoulith and President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam tomorrow. We will have breakfast together with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam … usually we three meet for breakfast. We have many meetings to cover and President Duterte of the Philippines will be the exhausted one. He is working fast … and I have profound respect on what he has done so far. Let me wish you all peaceful life, progress, and success of the visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia. May the relationship among the ten countries (of ASEAN) and Japan bridge our countries and people together for our stability and development./.