Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Opening of the Second Round Sea Festival [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV: 

Sea Festival Has Anchored Five Real Mechanisms

My wife and I are pleased to join with all of you to celebrate the Second Round, and 7th Sea Festival in the province of Koh Kong. I have listened with all my heart to the speeches delivered by Madame Governor, by HE Bruno Bodard, Founder and General Manager of the World Most Beautiful Bays Club, and by HE Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism. We are celebrating this year the seventh festival in round two for the province of Koh Kong. The festivity has clearly become real mechanisms that I wish to outline herewith.

Firstly, it is a mechanism for annual monitoring by coastal provinces listed as member of the most beautiful bay in the world club, or we call them the rising stars in southwestern part of Cambodia, to see how the host province is doing for such event […]

Secondly, it plays a very important part of solidarity between hosting provinces and other provinces in the whole country who are either sending their delegations or prologues to the event […]

Thirdly, it has offered a chance for companies and research agencies, sportsmen/women, artistic performers, etc. to present what they have/produced, their interests and skills.

Fourthly, it lays out foundation for solidarity and attraction for our people from coastal provinces to enjoy the celebration. We have here today people not only from Koh Kong but also from other provinces […]

Fifthly, it is an opportune moment to have this presence and participation of leader of the World Most Beautiful Bays Club in this event, along with delegations from the Kingdom of Thailand, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Ambassadors and artistic performance delegations from Indonesia and India, etc. […]

National Road 48 – A Four Lanes Highway

I am very pleased to thank Senior Minister HE Sun Chanthol of the Public Works and Transports and the military engineering team for their efforts to repair the national road 48 in a timely manner for our people to travel to the festival in Koh Kong. We have just finished the first layer of what is going to be double bituminous surface treatment (DBST) road. However, I wish to inform our people in Koh Kong that we are in the process of selecting a company to figure out an architectural plan to expand the national road 48 in the future to a four-lane highway […] it is a sea corridor from Thailand through Cambodia to Vietnam. It will serve as a corridor for transportation but, as I discussed with Bruno Bodard, we can also organize international bicycle race annually in Cambodia […]

Koh Kong People Lacked Trust from Generations of Central Administration

Prior to giving more recommendations, let me bring your attention to remind you that Koh Kong used to be left out and suffering from past actions. Natural calamity has been one of them but suffering from political situation has been another pitiful experience for the province. I had on numerous occasions stood out eventually for Koh Kong in the past. Some leaders in the province of Koh Kong could have known about this. Just as one story why one of our leader here is called Tia Banh (literally – Mr Tia was shot). His original name was Tia Sangvan. He was shot. That he survived the shooting, people called him Tia Banh. What does this indicate? It indicates what had happened in the past when people in the province of Koh Kong did not have the trust of the central administration level. People in Koh Kong continued to suffer even after 1979. They have been lucky that Hun Sen – as Prime Minister stands in for them […]

Three Hydropower Stations in Koh Kong

In our history, Koh Kong had rarely been connected on land in the country. We have this national road 48 but there was never a real road. In my leadership, I worked with the Kingdom of Thailand to build on some loans the national road 48 together, and four bridges along the road from grant. The governor just mentioned in her report that there are over 500 classroom school buildings built by my assistance in Koh Kong. Whoever wishes to turn Koh Kong back to its rough path, I think they will not be successful. Koh Kong has become a source of many resources. Phnom Penh and many provinces in the country are using electricity generated from tree hydropower stations in Koh Kong […]

Leave Titanium Untouched for Later Generation

… I have something to share with our people here. In Koh Kong, not far from the beach, a study has been made and evaluated that there are not less than 20 billion USD worth of titanium. The former Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, currently Ministry of Mines and Energy, requested for approval of an investment on titanium. According to my thorough investigation, to gain 20 or so billion USD worth of titanium, we may have to deplete over 20,000 hectares of forest that is shelter of endangered animals such as elephants. Once mining is underway, leftover would drift into sea polluting its blue color. Understanding these negative developments, I decided to disapprove the investment.

About two months later, the same investment request came to me again from other source stressing that if we do not allow investment, investors would lose their confidence since they spent so much money on research and exploration. My response was losing investor’s confidence in this particular matter is one thing but what concerned me the most would be to cause destruction on the Cambodian people. I would rather leave this matter to the younger generation to think about it (when they are taking over). It may be the case that by then there will be a better way of extracting titanium without destroying the 20,000 hectares forest and/or sending mining leftover to pollute the blue sea water […]

Koh Kong Would Receive More Tourists after Dara Sakor Is Ready

Among tourist arrival to the Kingdom of Cambodia, we have more than 800,000 of them visiting provinces with some 440 Km beaches along the sea from the border with Thailand on one side to the border with Vietnam on another. In Koh Kong particularly, some 150,000 of them had come. In the near future, after Dara Sakor eco-tourist resort is ready, Koh Kon expects to receive more tourists. It may move to number one or number two province to receive tourists visiting beaches since we are going to have built and expanded airports in Kiri Sakor district of Koh Kong and (Kong Keng) in Preah Sihanouk province. By putting these visions in place, we will be creating jobs and chance for our people to grow vegetables, raise animals and sell them to demanding markets […]

Recommendation 1 – Permanent Presence of Peace and Political Stability

… (We must make efforts to keep a) permanent presence of peace and political stability, safeguarding security, social order, and preventing terrorist acts from taking place. We must take these matter seriously to guarantee that our country will not go for another war and/ or act of terrorism in tourist areas. A number of countries had had terrorist attacks, especially in tourist areas, and that had scared tourists from visiting them. I hope that our people will act on this principle of “one citizen is one policeman” to help defend our nation, peace, political stability, security, and social order. In absence of permanent peace and political stability, wishing for tourist arrival and nurturing aim to move from lower-middle income to higher middle income country by 2030 would be hopeless […]

Recommendation 2 – Keeping Green Sea, Developing Eco-tourism Rather Felling Trees

… (We must make effort to) keep our sea green and maintain status of rising stars for all four coastal provinces gaining admission as members of the world most beautiful bays club. We take measures for development of eco-tourism in a form like Dara Sakor project to benefit from tourism rather than from felling trees […] (We must) make efforts to defend our bays, mangroves forest, environment, while working quickly on water treatment to avert dumping waste water into sea. Deputy Prime Minister HE Chea Sophara continues to work with Tourism Minister to make sure that in coastal provinces there will be no land reclamation without permission […]

I have seen a report from HE Chea Sophara about funding possibility to build more drainages in Preah Sihanouk province. They are provisional. We need a more sophisticated project to make sure that no waste water gets drained to sea […] I disapproved investment request in the past to build and burn waste materials brought from other countries to generate electricity in Cambodian islands. Should we allow them to do that, Cambodia could have become a waste dumping site […] as for land reclamation without permission is concerned, “without permission” is the key issue here. To develop a country, we may have to work on reclamation for instance to build and/or to expand the blue water port […] we also have to build breakwaters or some kind of barriers to prevent wave from reaching shore […]

What concerns here is whether reclamation is carried out with or without permission. Extremism either to the far left or to the far right would create problem in decision making and implementation. We have those who have experiences in making administrative decisions and those who do not. I wish to take this opportune moment to emphasize that strict measures must be taken for any reclamation without permission, and such action would ensue punishment by law. We may have to come up with amendment to the law if there would need to be. I support law that punish those who reclaim land without permission.

Objective and Subjective Factors to Low Tourist Arrivals in Preah Sihanouk Province

On this occasion, I am asking the governor of Preah Sihanouk province to restore honor that has soured due to objective and subjective factors. Whatever I am saying here is not to accolade any comments in some Facebook accounts and I am seeking their understanding to avoid using my statement in their exchanges of fight […]

My statement here is for authority concerned – public administration and the armed forces on issue in Preah Sihanouk province […] we have 16 million population and there are many tourist destinations. In coastal area, they may want to go to Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kompot or Kep. We also have other tourist destinations in the provinces of Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Stoeng Treng, etc. Those who have often come (to Preah Sihanouk) would change their destinations. That was objective why we had low turnout of tourist arrival to Preah Sihanouk province […]

Along with objective factor, there is also this subjective one concerning security and social order. Cambodian law is subject to implementing on every one setting foot in Cambodia without exception. We must see to laws’ enforcement […] (we have had this doctored VDO case that was not even in Cambodia) to create a false image and to destroy tourism growth in Cambodia. It was a real intention […]

Recommendation 3 – Build and Improve Infrastructures for Tourism

… (We must make efforts to) build and/or improve airports, roads, (clean) water, electricity, hotels, touring sites, etc. Tourists in this era are not ones to fan themselves but to cool themselves in rooms with air-condition. In certain places, there may have to be five-star hotels. Tourists may want to find on internet news about Cambodia whether there are five-star hotels and qualified hospitals where they wanted to go. Responding to these demands, we must make further efforts to achieve those infrastructures to serve tourism in the country […]

Recommendation 4 – Security and Social Order

… In relation to security and social order, we must take every possible measures to prevent drug-addicts and lawbreakers from carrying out their actions in coastal areas […] we may have remembered the case of Sergei Polonsky, a criminal wanted by Russia, who escaped arrest and hid himself with his investment in the province of Preah Sihanouk. The Russian government requested his arrest. We did and sent him to Russia. We must be extremely vigilant to keep our coastal area from falling into shelters of drug-addicts or lawbreakers, and more importantly from those terrorists who may run and hide from search on land […]

Recommendation 5 – Boosting Production to Supply for Tourism Sector

… Strive to produce more to ensure supply to tourism sector or shall we say to export produces locally. Let us encourage locals living around tourist sites to grow vegetables and to raise livestock for the sake of addressing growing demand of tourist arrivals. Make sure our people understand that tourists are markets for their produces. I have coined this concept as exporting to local demands. I met and discussed with President of the Union company that is investing in the development of holiday city Dara Sakor yesterday. I asked him to find ways to bring in three million tourists to Cambodia and to purchase Cambodian rice to serve them. He ensures me he will […]

Recommendation 6 – Expand and Bolster Sea Corridor Connectivity

… Expand and bolster connectivity of sea corridor from the province of Koh Kong through the province of Preah Sihanouk to the provinces of Kompot and Kep. This strategic corridor will serve not only transportation but also tourism. We also will have to expand the national road 48. I am taking this opportune moment to inform people in Koh Kong, Pursat and Battambang provinces that we will soon have this project of building roads connecting Koh Kong to Pursat and to Battambang to address their transportation needs […] Koh Kong also will have to work on own connectivity, building insider roads for instance, between the city of Khemarak Phumin to Dara Sakor to reduce distance of traveling […]

Recommendation 7 – Ensuring Safety at Sea/Water for Tourists

… We must take safeguard and ensure safety at sea and/or traveling on water to visit and/or tour remote islands. Regular inspection of their means of transportation and personal floating devices would be a good point to start with […] we have more visitors to islands […] we must make sure that transporting them to and from those islands is safe […]

Foreign Military Bases in Cambodia Unnecessary

What I am going to say now is not a recommendation but a live message from here to our friends concerning this bad and unjust accusation that Cambodia is working on setting up a foreign military bases in Koh Kong’s Tara Sakor and in Preah Sihanouk province. They even said that whatever is built there would be serving both civil and military purposes. I must reassert that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia allows no military bases in its territory – navy, infantry or air force. However, we may pose a question on those who have brought this concern up what would Cambodia need those foreign military bases for? On this point of dual infrastructural purpose – for civilian and military, have not they done the same in other countries? How come Cambodian cannot do the same? […]

What else do they want from Cambodia after past atrocity? I wish they would not do things that would cause lethal danger to Cambodia. While development in coastal area happens without their investments, they picked up on us and made it an issue about foreign military bases development. I have no way of understanding the matter when the US Vice President wrote me a letter (asking about it)? […] I think from their satellites, they can see from above. They can verify if we are building bases for submarines or not […] I would not allow (Cambodia) to purchase any submarines. Therefore there is no need to build bases for them. I am definite on that.

More Airports for More Tourists

We have adopted master plan for our country to expand airport in the province of Preah Sihanouk with runway to accommodate landing/taking-off of big aircrafts to be invested by VINCI, a French company. In Koh Kong, we will have this company of Bangkok Airway to invest in airport with runway that will accommodate medium size aircrafts. For Dara Sakor’s investment, there will be an airport to bring in tourists. Why these projects have become suspicious for some about Cambodia working on foreign military bases? […] I think it is time (for them) to let Cambodian people live in peace. We have just recovered from killing and our population has just reached 16 million. We hope that by 2030, our population will be over 20 million. I never have a clue as to why they could have raised this issue to me about our sovereign state […]

Elected to Lead Domestic and Foreign Policy Making

Let me reaffirm that though the present Constitution prohibits foreign military bases in Cambodia and no military operation with second country against other countries, we have been able to send our troops for peacekeeping purpose under the UN flag. Though we may have power to amend the Constitution to grant permission for foreign military bases in Cambodia and/or to allow Cambodian troops to operate in foreign countries not under the UN flag, we would not go for that. This would be my reassertion after my statement on this topic at the recent Cabinet meeting and in my joint press conference in Hanoi with the Prime Minister of Vietnam. Cambodia, I reassert, will resolutely allow no foreign military bases in its territory […]

I thank you all for listening to my long speech in which I have underlined aspects relating to sea festival but also some Cambodian positions on international affairs. It may not be acceptable to those who have created problem between themselves and the Cambodian people and the Royal Government of Cambodia. Whether it would be acceptable to them or not, it is my right as an elected (leader) by the Cambodian people to represent Cambodia, to lead policy making of Cambodia – domestic and foreign. I earn this right from my people. I must protect my people from insult on this sovereign state. May I invite our people and guests to enjoy the festivities […]./.