Speech and Selected Comments at the Inauguration of the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Bridge Chrey Thom-Long Binh, and Road Connection under the Concessional Loan from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

[Unofficial Translation]


In addition to the prepared text, speaking to the Inauguration the Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Bridge Jrey Thom-Long Binh, Samdech Techo Hun Sen made the following adlib comments on transforming former battlefields into development areas:

Today, I have a great pleasure to attend with H.E Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in this Inauguration of the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Chrey Thom/Long Binh Bridge, and the Connecting Road of the two countries, Cambodia-Vietnam” in Sampov Poun Commune, Koh Thom District, Kandal Province, the Kingdom of Cambodia, which is next to Long Binh District, Ang Yang Province, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to express my profound thanks to the Government and people of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam that rescued Cambodian people and country from Pol Pot Genocidal Regime, and highly evaluate the fraternity by contributing the resource in subsequent rehabilitation and development of Cambodian socio-economy. At the same time, Cambodia would like to congratulate the development of Vietnam Society, which will further boost the economic growth and development of neighboring country like Cambodia through this progress.
In fact, this inauguration is also perceived as the anniversary of diplomatic relation between Cambodia-Vietnam, which has been 50 years (1967-2017) by this 2017. Through this, we can say that this bridge and the connecting road is a gift of this 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relation between Cambodia-Vietnam. However, this achievement is not only the testimony of the great sympathy of the Government of Vietnam in strengthening and expanding the cooperation and solidarity between the two neighboring countries , but also strengthening the peace, stability, and order for the two nations and all countries in ASEAN as well as Mekong Sub-region. Moreover, this bridge and connecting road also strengthen and expand economic cooperation by opening the cross-border gateway, which will enhance the connectivity, promote the trade and tourism sector, and livelihood of people of the two countries.
Cambodia has accomplished abundance of achievements both in politics, security, social orders, and socio-economic development, which are pre-conditions for in-depth transitions in all aspects of socio-economy. Obviously, today we have Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Chrey Thom/Long Binh Bridge and Connecting Road between both countries, which is a very potential passage linking to markets and supporting the pace of Cambodian economic growth. With the recent additional accomplishment, Cambodia hopes to achieve an ambitious promotion of trade between both Cambodia and Vietnam to increase up to USD​5000 Million in the upcoming years that will contribute to maintaining the economic growth rate of around 7% in a year which is its growth objective after Cambodia has achieved an average growth of 7.7% in a year during two decades and that has liberated millions of Cambodian people from the poverty trap. Therefore, in order to continue Cambodian socio-economic development in a much faster pace with favorable regional and global integration, preservation of security, political stability, macroeconomic stability and sustainable growth is an important work.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to compliment related companies that have accomplished this achievement which includes SANCO One Corporation (Vietnam), Sok Sokha Company (Cambodia) (CIENCO1-SOK SOKHA) and Transport Engineering Design Joint Stock Inc. South of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam that has studied technical engineering design, as well as domestic company KCEC who successfully managed and supervised technical construction as planned. I would like to express my compliment and high evaluation on management and officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, local authorities as well as all related ministries and institutions who have made their utmost efforts to guarantee the successful achievement of strategic plan for the construction of various roads and bridges infrastructure throughout the country particularly this Chrey Thom/Long Binh Bridge and Connecting Road.

[Start of Comments]

Please allow me to speak a little bit in addition to my speech. I have set out this policy to transform former battlefields into marketplaces, and borders with neighboring countries to areas of peace, friendship, cooperation, and development. Cambodia shares over one thousand kilometers of border with Vietnam, about one thousand kilometers with Thailand and with Laos too. We want a border of peace, friendship, cooperation, and development to guarantee interest for people of both sides. We have realized already the objective of transforming former battlefields into marketplaces. We are now working on transforming border areas with neighboring countries into areas of development, cooperation, friendship, and as an important part in trade relations between our neighboring countries.

Since the translation has not reached to the level that I wanted to say, maybe I shall have to speak a bit in Vietnamese. When I speak in Vietnamese, some would say that I am a puppet (of Vietnam). However, when I speak in French or English, it seems no one has said I was a puppet of either of them. I am now speaking a few words in Vietnamese to stress on the meaning I wish to deliver to the Prime Minister and other leaders of Vietnam, and their people here.

Since it is not said anywhere in my prepared speech, I wish to reiterate the point I wanted to stress that we have transformed all former battlefields into market places and areas of development already. We are now working to make efforts with neighboring countries to transform borders (with neighboring countries) into areas of peace, friendship, cooperation, and development. I have asked people on both sides of the border, which one do they prefer, exchange of goods, tourism, exchange of visits, or fighting. I think that people on border sites all want peace and development, not war. I hope that the bridge we are putting into official use today is a part of connectivity efforts between our two countries that are good neighbors with tradition of friendship and cooperation in every field.

[End of Comments]

Finally, with an announcement of Inauguration of the “Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Chrey Thom/Long Binh Bridge and the Connecting Road of the two countries, Cambodia-Vietnam” at the moment, I would like to wish all venerable monks, and H.E. Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, national and international distinguished guests, and compatriots, the four gems of Buddhist blessing: Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness and Strength./.