Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Gathering in Sydney of Cambodian Citizens Living in Australia and New Zealand [Unofficial Translation]


A Warm Welcome for Own Nationality

I am so happy today to be able to meet with all of you who are living in Australia and New Zealand. I convey my respect to those of you traveling from New Zealand and various states of Australia to be here with us. This gesture has clearly showed how much consideration you have for your motherland because my trip to Australia is not one for private purpose. It is an official visit. That you come out to welcome me and the Cambodian delegation spells clearly your support and not opposition to the nation. Any opposition to Hun Sen (‘s visit) would mean a confrontation to own nation. I am not here on a private or tourist visit […] I am so happy that we have this meeting but unfortunately we cannot have one meeting for every one of us. Tomorrow night, after the banquet for heads of state and government given by Prime Minister of Australia, I will have another meeting with our people […]

It Is Good to Keep One’s Native Nationality

… Our people (living in Australia and New Zealand) could have come here at three different circumstances. Some might have come since the war between 1970 and 1975. Some could have come when they took refuge from the Pol Pot’s regime between 1975 and 1979, and some might have come after the liberation in 1979. My biggest pride and impression of being here is that though you may have taken new nationalities, you do not forget who you originally are. It is a good feeling to travel anywhere and to meet with own people who think about their nation. It is our right and property. We cannot abandon it. In Cambodia, no matter what nationality you may take, you are not obliged to leave your native Cambodian nationality. You also have a lifetime visa to Cambodia […]

Why Cambodians Abroad Cannot Vote

… I understand some demands made for political interest. I should bring it up a bit for your understanding. Some political parties demanded that people living abroad have rights to vote […] I may have to address this issue that the Royal Government of Cambodian led by the Cambodian People’s Party and/or Hun Sen does not allow our people living abroad to vote […] the matter is relating to the elections systems. Politicians went around deceived people that the Royal Government did not appreciate or respect your rights […] there are three different voting systems – one is a first-past-the-post system, another is proportional representation system, and proportional representation system by provinces […] (as Cambodia is using the third system,) where would you go and register? […] the law demanded that registration undergoes in the country. Some may go to Cambodia but your stay would not be long enough for you to carry out your right.

… For instance, where would you register? Would you from Australia register in Kompong Cham or Kompong Speu? On another instance, we have time difference too. While voting and counting with everyone present, there were accusation of fraud. What would happen if we have had to transport the ballots from Australia? […] the whole idea of casting votes is for the country to make progress. The Cambodian People’s Party would not object to this idea when appropriate time comes, when we have a different voting system, so that our people may exercise their rights […] I think politicians should not bring this matter up for their advantages. What advantages would they have? Firstly, they would raise fund from you […]

Go Against Hun Sen Is Patriotic, Welcome Hun Sen Is Traitor

… I am so sad to have learnt that some politicians insulted all of you here for coming to see me. You have been branded to have been here for money – 600$. They may insult me but they should not do that to you. I do not have money to hire you to come see me. And I am sure you are not for hire. You are not animal. I just find it difficult to understand when some people claimed themselves heroes but insulted their own people […] our conscience is not for sale, no matter how much […] if they say, for instance, I bought Mr. Prak Skhon to work as a Foreign Minister, you may have a second thought that that could be true. However, when they said that you are here because I bought your conscience, what would you say? […] this is a bad habit of some Cambodian politicians. They colored so and so for being Vietnamese, Siamese, etc. They claimed themselves patriotic but they made themselves traitors […] that you go against me in demonstration, you are to be patriotic. However, that you have come to welcome me, they labelled you traitors. Hun Sen has bought you all to come […]

Two Booklets of Cambodian Poets

… For my visit this time around, I have brought with me two booklets for you. I do not have money as they said. One of the booklets is the poem of Cambodian scholar Kram Ngoi, and the other one of scholar Ou Chong. His poem has been fantastic to educate our life. I printed some 110,000 booklets for teachers and some have been specially covered for bring here […]

Hun Sen’s Vision of Foreign Affairs

As we are meeting today you may want to know about political development in Cambodia and what have been our foreign policies, economic development, etc. Let me first give you one good reason why we have a chance to meet here in Sydney. Why Hun Sen is here? It is because of our foreign policy. If Cambodia is not a member of ASEAN, it is definite that the Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen or anyone else, would not be coming to Australia (for this event). I should elaborate for you as to why I led Cambodian into ASEAN? […] ASEAN was found by five countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. After winning Independence, Brunei had become its sixth member. Vietnam became its seventh member state. Laos and Myanmar became its eighth and ninth members before Cambodia whose membership, because of the 1997-unfortunate political incident, was prolonged […] There are four reasons for Cambodia to join ASEAN:

Firstly, this principle of non-interference of each other’s internal affairs. You may know that Cambodia is locating between a 100-million-people nation to its east and 60-million-people nation to its west. You may know that in the time of (Thai Prime Minister) Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand sent their troops to the pagoda of Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak of Preah Vihear. It we were not member of ASEAN, who would stand to resolve the problem for us? No one would care to help us. ASEAN members would support each other […]

Secondly, community spirit. ASEAN way of working based on consensus. ASEAN is in this case a community of equal right and footing. There is no big brother as in other regional settings […] some has sounded their opinion that (the Australian Prime Minister) Malcom Turnbull should not invite me here. If I do not come, there will not be a fully present ASEAN here. It was fortunate that President Duterte of the Philippines sent Foreign Minister in his place […]

Thirdly, to secure socio-economic benefit from regional integration. There are many economic groupings in the world. Hosting ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh, there were this ASEAN ten plus six partnering countries – Australia, New Zealand, India, China, and South Korea. There was this Trans-Pacific Partnership, which had been annulled by President Donald Trump […] we have chances of securing vast economic benefits from this grouping […]

Fourthly, it is Cambodia’s diplomatic exits. ASEAN has many partnering countries. By becoming an ASEAN member we benefit from ASEAN’s existing connectivity and partnerships. It is in this note that I have to answer the question why I am coming to Australia? You said you wanted to meet me. Well, we can do it because we are one country member of ASEAN […] Cambodia is not isolated […]

Cambodia Sends Blue-Beret Peacekeeping Troops for Twelve Years Now

We have discussed with Australia about the fact that we have sent our blue-beret peacekeeping troops for the UN peacekeeping operation in the world for the last twelve years. Our troops are now stationed in Lebanon, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, etc. Our Constitution does not allow us to send forces abroad. There had been countries asking for Cambodian forces to go to Iraq. I denied because its operation was not under the United Nations flag […] when I met with (Prime Ministers of) France, India, etc., I always asked them for cooperation on that matter for information sharing […]

UNTAC Left Cambodia with Khmer Rouge Present

… In between 1970 and 1975, our country was divided into two. One side occupied by Lon Nol, supported by the Americans, and another side was the Front led by Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk. From 1975 through to 1979, Cambodia was under the Khmer Rouge’s genocide. In between 1979 through to 1993, Cambodia was divided with four areas of controls – one by the Hang Samrin-Hun Sen government, two by the Khmer Rouge, three by the Sihanoukists and four by those who followed Son San. Until from 1993 through to 1998, Cambodia was again a divided country where the Royal Government of the UN-organized elections was on one side […] by spending two billion USD, UNTAC left Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge occupied a part of the country […]

… I had to trade my life for a second time. Firstly, in 1977, I started a movement to fight against Pol Pot and overthrew the regime. Secondly, I went into the Khmer Rouge area to welcome the defected Khmer Rouge force for integration into one nation. In 1996, implementing for two years win-win policy, we have secured a great achievement. At present, in Cambodia, we only have many political parties. For the first time in its history of hundreds of years that Cambodia is one under the Constitution and HM the King, the Royal Government, and armed forces […]

No Political Prisoners, Only Politicians Charged With Wrongdoings

… I told HE Malcom Turnbull today that in ASEAN, different countries have different situation. In Brunei, the country is led by the Sultan, in Vietnam and Laos, they exercised a one party system. And in Thailand, the military is holding power. As for Cambodia, we have many political parties to contest in the next elections. I never say Cambodia cancels elections. Those who committed wrongdoings must go before the court. I told him that there are no political prisoners in Cambodia. We have only politicians who committed wrongdoings and therefore have to stand trial […]

The Royal Government never says to prolong elections. That one party does not contest (is not a problem). The Cambodian nation would not be hostages of one treacherous political party. They should not say that if that party does not contest, the elections fail to earn legal recognition […] our problem here is to organize a free and fair elections. In 60 days after the elections, HM the King will convene the Assembly meeting. HM the King also assigned a dignitary from the winning party to the post of Prime Minister, who then will have to organize and propose a Cabinet. The person will then ask for approval on the Cabinet from the National Assembly.

With the National Assembly’s approval, HM the King signed the Royal Decree to allow the functioning of the Royal Government. Members of the Royal Government will take the swearing-in session. There is no need for recognition or approval from the US President, so and so Prime Minister, or even the UN Secretary General […]

Australian Provides 87 Million Dollars

… Some said that Hun Sen would be pressured by ASEAN and Australia […] I should share with them that during our courtesy call session, Prime Minister Turnbull said that Australia will provide Cambodia a sum of 87 million dollars […] he even asked for further trades and investments. In the following meeting with President of the Chamber of Commerce of Australia, we also talked about direct flight between Cambodia and Australia […] I wish that what happened opened eyes of the ones who said it the month before […]

There is no such thing as international standard in politics. In Australia, should anyone do not exercise their voting right, s/he would get fined. In the US, voters can decided if they vote or not. In France too. International standard seems to exist and apply only in sports […] in Cambodia, we first vote to elect the National Assembly as they do it in Australia. The elected party in the National Assembly will propose the Royal Government. I just learned something new about Australia. Let us not follow it. We just take the points that are applicable for us […] we leave right up to the people to decide whether they go to vote or not […]

Montagnard Are Not Cambodian Minorities

… I should bring up an issue which is shocking if Cambodia was to go that way. It is about this VDO clip that showed us about politicians willing to give autonomy four provinces […] does anyone of you know about Degar or Montagnard in Cambodia? Are they ethnic people living in Cambodia? […] in time of signing the agreement, there were three flags present – one new Cambodian flag, one American flag, and one of the Degar. We are to lose four provinces to the Degar. The man has not had power in his hands yet but he dare to go this far […] if they are all Khmer, why had they had to go into agreement (about land) […] the Cambodian Constitution does not allow secession. We respect our ethnic minorities such as Jaray, Kajok, Stieng, Tumpuon, Punong, etc. We do not have and never have Montagnards or Degar. They ran into our country. Some went to a third country after interview and those who failed we sent them back to Vietnam. They are Vietnamese […]

… Every day you accuse me of giving land to Vietnam. Not much said with Thailand or Laos […] what happened in past was more than I could know. They said I gave Koh Trol to Vietnam. According to record, Brevier drew a line when our governor of Kompot could not go there to collect tax for his inability to survive seasickness […] the French Assembly met in 1949 and finally gave Cochinchina to Vietnam. The Cambodian delegation voted abstain. They did not reserve any position for us younger generation to protest […] addressing the National Assembly in 2012, I apologized and said that if I were the delegation then, I would have voted against the decision. That I was not yet born, why have they accused me? […]

Anyone from Ratanakiri? Mondulkiri? Stoeung Treng or Kratie? Do you know of Montagnard? The Royal Government of Cambodia has provided the Cambodian ethnic minorities with what they have wished to keep. We provided them rights to community land […] ethnic people in our country now wear no more pieces of cloths but clothes. They also have cars and motorcycles […]

Kem Lei and Chun Chanbot

… I was told that wife of Kem Lei led a demonstration against me. She was convinced that I involved in the death of Kem Lei. Let me today break out two mysteries to the Cambodian people and international community. Kem Lei was in fact to meet me when I returned from the Asia-Europe meeting in Mongolia. It was either on the 18th or the 19th. Unfortunately, he was assassinated on the 10th of July. Who had really committed this crime? Who would benefit from the death of Kem Lei? It would not be the Royal Government led by Hun Sen. It was clearly in the interest of the opposition. Everyone said whoever met with Hun Sen always come out changing his political mind. Kem Lei was not an opposition figure to Hun Sen at all. He sought to meet with me. It was act of a third hand. I just wish to tell Ms. Phuong Rachana that she is confused and makes friend with your enemy […]

Secondly, it concerning Chun Chanbot. He is also present in Australia. He went to see General Mao Sophan, commander of brigade 70 prior to his meeting with Hun Manet, my son. What did he say? He asked for General Mao Sophan’s protection or he could be killed like Kem Lei. Chun Chanboth may swear if he did or did not meet with General Mao Sophan and my son. When you have a problem and escaped from the country, you sent my son a message on WhatsApp […] he normally forwarded those messages to me. The Cambodian people who listened to Radio Free Asia may ask about his meeting with Mao Sophan and my son. Hun Manet. I brought this issue up because Chun Chanboth and Kem Lei’s wife are here […] I did not disclose this because I thought maybe you could be my spy in the long run. Now I will not keep it […] no one could have a way of knowing about it […]./.