Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the Graduation and Diploma Presenting Ceremony of the AEU Graduates

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[Unofficial Translation]

Policymaking Is Not Only In Words

… I have learnt that in AEU (Asia Euro University) and some other universities have enrolled foreign students. It is one of our national prides. We started from ashes and made our way gradually to become one of the least developed countries, or a low-income country, and then to be a lower-middle income country with an ambition and ability to become a higher-middle income country by 2030 and high-income country in 2050. It is true that I have no way of knowing if I will be alive till 2050, and some here would not be around in 2030 even, but we must come up with a roadmap for our country’s development. We have walked with a guide and not wandering aimlessly. They may not underestimate what we have gone through. We have set out phases and put in concrete thoughts. It is not just to make it good in words to attract people. This (graduation from a private university) is a clear example of policymaking that we allowed private sector to take part in human resource training and development.

Were there no such decision or policy, would there be this many universities to take place? Would there be enough schools to absorb those who finished their secondary level educations. This is one small point to illustrate that we have a clear roadmap, both in many different fields inside the country, and externally too. It is not at all a matter of joke when talking about issuing a policy. Take for instance my declaration in Santuk district in 2002 that every commune must have a junior level secondary school of its own. In health, we issued a policy to eliminate polio before 2000. We put them out. We made them implementable. We acted on them synchronically. We have achieved complete success in eliminating polio and continued to eliminate other diseases aimed at lowering number of deaths of mother and child. We are stepping up to the elimination of malaria in 2025.

Some people have made comments on things that suggest that they lack understanding. They did not look into the RGC’s visionary papers and overlooked the inter-related actions we have taken to realize our aims. In education, we have put out policies that provide chances for youth and children through localizing more school facilities while making more teachers available to local areas. We have made efforts to ensure quality of education from local to tertiary educational level, construction of national infrastructures and increase of salary for some 120,000 teachers […] It has not been a vague action. Please do not act as if you alone know everything. I hope that our graduates will not tread this path and misinterpret facts […]

With Peace, Jobs Are Around

… I hope that everyone – those who already have jobs will continue to make further efforts and those who do not have jobs yet will find ones. As long as the country is in peace, our people will create jobs and other will find jobs. Who would be able to find jobs in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, or Libya? Even though they may have jobs there, we may not choose to go. In my capacity of Prime Minister of the country, I would also not let you go. I have the obligation to defend my people too. I hope that our graduates will make their continuing efforts. I also call on other students and leaders to keep up their studies everyday and continue to keep on with developing situation. Neglecting that, they would become conservative. For those in politics and information, they would become ill-willed characters […]

… We would be able to reduce gap of knowledge. In this world, reducing gap of wealth is next to impossible. It would not be possible to make every American as rich as Bill Gates. Under the Pol Pot regime, they did it. They tried it. They chased us all out of the cities. They rationed us to eat only rice porridge and starve. Forty-two years ago, people left the cities and headed to countryside. Some died on the way …That was the tragedy of war raged after the 18-March-1970 coup against Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk. The coup had been the cause of the country’s devastation […]

Sangkranta Everywhere Next Year

This year we organized the Sangkranta event in many provinces. I hope we will bring it to every province next year. Phnom Penh this Khmer New Year was not that quiet. On April 16, I came back from Siem Reap’s Angkor Sangkranta and I thought of going to Wat Phnom. Sangkranta will not be only in Siem Reap next year. We have unearthed our hidden and abstract culture from various places and displayed them […] I received a text intended for an interview by a member of the National Assembly. The person seems to have great length to make a point that the organization of Sangkranta spent up to ten million USD. It is so unfortunate. I do not know if the intended interview went into broadcasting. I just received the text […]

A Segment of Road from Samlot/Battambang to Koh Kong

Our civil servants with new salary plus Khmer New Year bonus have been able to enjoy the festive events. People can now travel to various places without having to return. I saw an interview with people who came from Svay Rieng to Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stoeng Treng, Preah Vihear and stood giving interview before the temple of Angkor in Siem Reap. Our infrastructural connectivity allowed our people to travel to places. We would need one more segment of road from Samlot/Battambang through Thmor Da/Pursat, to Koh Kong province, to connect our country by a ring of road altogether. We have it in our master plan. What we need to do is to find money to build it. We would travel around the country without having to return to a starting point before commencing a new road […] that will be a kind of freedom. Where were all these opportunities 42 years ago? People have enjoyed themselves now.

Keeping Peace and Achievements

I hope that people will join together to keep peace and achievements that we have realized from so much difficulties to ensure our country’s progresses aimed at maintaining 7% economic growth per annum. Our income will improve. Realization of policies formulated for rice production and exports, and industrial development policy for 2015-2025 will surely guarantee advancement of Cambodia from being a poor country to one with progress. We have our troops in peacekeeping operations in many countries. Would they consider this not a roadmap on foreign policy? I hope that commentators will understand the whole issue between domestic and foreign policies, which are interdependent and standing for each other.

We are implementing outward looking policy to promote export productions from our country through expanding existing markets and working to get new ones so that we will be creating more jobs for our people. It was not at all a funny matter that they have placed coordinating role in Cambodia among the least developed countries under the regime of the World Trade Organization. This afternoon, I will welcome a world medalist Ouk Srey Mom. How could we achieve all this? Would it come out of inconclusive actions? We have a clear policy and actions for sports that allowed Ouk Srey Mom won gold medal from the event.

Two Points War Would Not Take Place in Korean Peninsula

I wish to say a few things today to our workers in Korea as well as their families. I urge them to exercise restraint. This would be a repetition of what we knew happened in 2011. There were criticisms at that time that I did not get help for our workers. I would argue that war in the Korean peninsula would not take place […] should we evacuate our workers or nor? There is no reason for us to evacuate. Firstly, war has not yet happened and to evacuate a big number of people would not be a simple matter. There would be no connectivity on land. Secondly, between evacuation and staying there, safety is a more appropriate option. Our people there may have to live the way the Korean people do under the supervision of the Korean Administration. Staying there with the Koreans is the most appropriate option.

To evacuate 40,000 people is not a small matter. Many rich countries they also have their people there, why they do not do it. More so, were there an evacuation in this situation, it would be difficult for us to enter job markets there. We have sought our Korean friend to take in more workers from Cambodia and many countries fight for it – Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and even China. We have been able to increase job quota from hundreds to tens of thousands, we should not risk losing them.

In Solidarity with the Koreans

I hope that our workers working in Korea are calm, live and work with people of Korea, keeping bond of solidarity with the Koreans to evade eventual danger. The matter would not end at the point they fought each other but the destruction of South Korea and Japan. The US would have to think hard on war option. The US is far away and any war impact on them would be small but their troops in South Korea and Japan. They talked about intercepting the North Korean missiles. Would it be as easy as peeling banana? Even if it intercepts and explodes in the air, there would be consequences too […] I would therefore argue it is a show of weapons. It would not lead to war and I am certain that the US would have to study all options and consult with Japan and South Korea.

It is a different matter to what happened in Syria. The explosion of chemical weapons has been a matter possible to identify as to who had used them. We support more investigation and find out who actually used them – the Assad regime? There have reports that the Assad regime air force did bomb the area but they did not use chemical bombs. However, their bombardments hit a chemical weapons warehouse. We need to find out who actually used this weapon of mass destruction. Cambodia is not a permanent member of the Security Council, but we are one responsible state member of the United Nations.

War Would Make All Losers

We are calling on every party concerned to exercise restraint and use no force. Should the war take place, there would be no winner. The real losers are the countries around. I hope that they will seek a way for safety in the Korean peninsula either through the six-party negotiation or by other mechanism. Once again, I am calling on our workers working in Korea and their parents, families to rest assure that we, the RGC, are keeping abreast with the situation there through our embassy. As I said, between evacuating and not doing so, evacuating would cause us severe damages. The same was also true in 2014, North Korea demanded us to move our ambassadors and staff … HE Hor Nam Hong, the then Foreign Minister, contacted me. I instructed to stay. Finally, …