Remark Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Royal Cambodian Army Command Headquarters [Unofficial Translation]


9 November 1953 – Foundation Day of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces

[…] Why in its 65 years of the RCAF foundation day, we have just had twenty years of foundation day for the Royal Cambodian Army (RCA)? We have determined to set 9 November 1953, the day when we won independence from the French colonialism as our foundation day of the RCAF. People could have understood complication of the Cambodian history as we just celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the win-win policy implementation that brings about national, territorial unity as well as the unity of the Cambodian armed forces for the first time in its history. In 1953, upon receiving independence, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) was founded. It was a good thing that we decided to set 9 November 1953 as our foundation day of the RCAF to unify armed forces not only the militia and “brave women” under the leadership of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk to demand for independence but also other armed forces such as Issara Khmer, etc. […] I also have a date when I set out to build up an army on 12 May 1978 and my armed forces was given a date-name of 125 unit […] to make it easy for every armed groups to agree on a unified foundation day, I proposed to Preah Karuna Samdech Preah Sorodm Sihanouk Preah Borom Ratana Kaod to make 9 November 1953 the RCAF foundation day […]

State of Cambodia Demobilized 240,000 Militia, Over 20,000 Troops Unilaterally

It is necessary for me to speak to remind soldiers, army officers of every ranks, the Cambodian people and our foreign friends that because of protracted war Cambodia had had to work out this Paris Peace Agreement, which required ceasefire in place and demobilization of 70% of armed forces. The former State of Cambodia then had 140,000 troops, 240,000 militia, and over 40,000 police forces. The Khmer Rouge, however, destroyed and did not implement the Paris Peace Agreement, there were no demobilization of 70% armed forces and there were no disarmaments. In spite of that the State of Cambodia unilaterally demobilized the above figure troops […] some of whom later sought to return to the army by purchasing their ranks from the armies belonged to factions of Funcinpec and Son San’s KPNLF […]

2 June 1993 – Held Under Arrest

Let me take this opportune moment to break to you a mystery that not many of us here could have known about. I, as President of the Council of Ministers, and Pol Saroeun, as the Chief of General Staff, were under arrest on 2 June 1993. Pol Saroeun was placed under arrest before me. It was my negligence that I traveled to someone’s home with only my driver and a bodyguard. I said to the people who did that to me because they did not recognize results of the elections that I would resign from my position and they could take it over to avoid bloodshed. I would resign at 6pm and the remaining State of Cambodia National Assembly would have voted for someone to be a new Prime Minister. Their way of getting their ambition succeeded was to arrest Prime Minister Hun Sen, the top strategist of the Cambodian People’s Party […] I took the chance to invite Samdech Chea Sim, Samdech Heng Samrin, HE Tia Banh, Ke Kimyan, and some permanent members of the Party to the place […] I could remember that HE Tia Banh and Ke Kimyan reacted strongly to my offer for resignation and warned of a bloodshed […]

Strengthen Forces under Command to Avoid Repetition of History

It was because of all this that I have made it a task to strengthen forces under my direct command to avoid history from repetition as what happened on 2 June 1993. On 4 July 1994, there was one other attempt to launch a coup to arrest me again. In every attempt of arrests, they always have a wish to destroy peace achievements. Take for instance I demanded to recognize results of the elections though UNTAC had organized them in a dishonest way. That I was too defiant for such recognition I was arrested […] the coup was yet to happen and we have taken effective measure to neutralize it. They planned to execute Samdech Krom Preah and to arrest me and keep me in Prey Veng. That was what happened in July 1994. Having said this, I am taking this chance to reiterate that in the time of my power, I allow and will allow no coup to take place. The coup story on 18 March 1970 launched by the army founded by Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk had destroyed Cambodia […]

Integration of Forces Based on State of Cambodia’s Army Structures

[…] after I resolved matters concerning secession and internal issues, I have discussed with leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party on this possibility that the State of Cambodia would demobilize (some of its forces unilaterally) as that was not stipulated in the Paris Peace Agreement. The Agreement requires a constitutional assembly elections and when it becomes a National Assembly with a Royal Government in place, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) would end its presence. On 18 March, while attending the birthday anniversary of the Queen Mother, Samdech Krom Preah and I discussed a possibility of not talking about dissolution anything but founding a provisional government for which we both become co-prime ministers, co-ministers for defense and interior […] let me emphasize here that the formation of the provisional government carried out based on the State of Cambodia structures. The same is true for integration for factional armed forces into the national armed forces […]

General Hors Classe

… after what we had agreed on the night of March 18, the Royal Palace received a news that Samdech Chea Sim was not with the plan to set up the provisional government. Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk Borom Ratana Kaod and UNTAC Head Yasushi Akashi contacted me at about 11pm. Samdech Chea Sim and I went to see HM the King in the Royal Palace […] Preah Karuna King Father seated Samdech Chea Sim next to him and asked about the news. Samdech Chea Sim said in his own words that he supported the plan and it was a plan that we had discussed and offered his full support. Having learnt that, because I had to fulfil my position as Co-Prime Minister, Co-Ministers for Defense and Interior, in his own words, Samdech Preah Karuna King Father said to bestow me, Samdech Chea Sim, and Samdech Heng Samrin, the ranks of General Hors Classe […]

Triangle Strategy Included Reform of the Armed Forces

Let me clarify why we had this general command of the armed forces, which later becomes the general command of the RCAF? […] in 1994, we established this general command of armed forces. Let me distinguish different functions of the two general commands. The present general command of the RCAF would supervise command only on army, while the general command of the armed forces command every forces with arms […] after the second-legislative general elections in July 1998, and the formation of the Royal Government, in the first session of the National Assembly on 2 December 1998, I laid out the triangle strategy, which included reform of the armed forces, while later the Khmer Rouge leaders – Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea, and others, reported themselves to my house. I invited Tia Banh, Ke Kimyan, Pol Saroeun, Meas Sophea to my house to work on this chapter of reform […] and we agreed together to abolish this general command of the armed forces.

Royal Cambodian Navy and Royal Cambodian Air Force

After the July-1998 incident, the general command of armed forces had no co-general commanders […] we needed to exercise reform […] it was then that we transfer from general staff to general command. Ke Kimyan then took the general command post for me and Pol Saroeun became Chief of General Staff, and Meas Sophea became Deputy General Commander-in-Chief and Commander of the Royal Cambodian Army. I am sure that the Royal Cambodian Navy and Royal Cambodian Air Force came to being at the same time. We then have specialized our troops into the Royal Cambodian Army, the Royal Cambodian Navy and the Royal Cambodian Air Force. We have divided jobs and responsibilities between the general command which has some units under its command and the Royal Cambodian Army which has a number of units under its command too. As of present, the general command also have some special intervention forces under its command in addition to those under the Royal Cambodian Army […]

Ten Tasks at Hands

As I have this opportune moment to meet with our army, I wish to remind you – the army, navy, air force, military police, and other specialized forces that in addition to tasks given by the Royal Cambodian Government, the general command, and commands at every levels and sectors, please allow me to call on your attentions on ten tasks:

Firstly, ready to defend national independence and sovereignty, while continuing steadfastly to implement policy of people’s national defense foundation. Hun Sen’s national defense policy has always been one – from the start, of the people’s national defense foundation. The army comes from our people and they have to do everything for people’s peaceful life […] people’s national defense foundation does not infer to the tens of thousands troops but the fact that one person is one soldier for our nation […]

Secondly, collaborating with other forces, maintain peace, political stability, social order, implement safe village-commune policy, combat against thefts, drugs and human trafficking, and other crimes. We must ensure that Cambodia is a country of true peace […] our country has had a history of blood and tears, of division, and of divided army. We must make every efforts to keep peace, political stability, security, social order, and other negative actions […]

Thirdly, combat against terrorism, quell in a timely manner attempts to launch color revolution against legal RGC through undemocratic and unconstitutional means. The armed forces is tasked to defend state. There is no such thing as neutrality towards guerrilla whether in the forest or in urban. We are fighting against all forms of terrorism that is threatening the world […] we also watch out and quell actions aimed at plundering power by undemocratic, not through elections, and unconstitutional means […]

Let me affirm again that (the armed forces) shall wait for no command (to quell what) they see as illegal and unconstitutional aimed at pulling down the state […] the armed forces of all types must take actions. It is better to have few casualties than to lose lives of tens of thousands or even millions as in the past […] the general command of the RCAF, the general command of the three armed forces, regional military commands, divisions, brigades, and other forces structures must adhere to roles and functions of defending sovereign state, legally elected state, and allow no one to insult and carry action to destroy state and/or social order. I am sure that my message does not threaten anyone. We are strengthening capacity of our armed forces to make sure that our country is free from terrorism and/or illegal putsch of power […]

Fourthly, together with concerned forces assist people, especially in times of disaster. The army are children of people and they are embraced with duty to look after people and help them in time of difficulties in any way we can […] you must not set people tears because of your actions […]

Fifthly, support law-enforcing authorities to guarantee protection of forest, fishery and other natural resources. I said it already when I visited command center of division 3 in the province of Preah Vihear […] I made it clear that I am sending the army there to help protect forest. They must not involve in forest crimes […] we must be forces to support competent authorities to carry out laws on forest, environment, and other national resources.

Sixthly, support national and sub-national efforts to gather national incomes. Concerning this point, forces not only under the military commands but policemen, etc. must actively support efforts to collect national incomes and to prevent tax-evasion and border crimes, etc. to bring criminals to justice […] to protect honor and dignity of the army. Incomes collected will allow (the Royal Government to) increase salary for civil servants and the armed forces […] requesting to import personal vehicles free of import tax by one person would bring about many others to follow and we are going to lose money. Let us strengthen tax paying culture to help the state provide for civil servants and armed forces […]

Seventhly, ensure military disciplines in every forces. Training in every skills is important. We may have advanced military technology but without trained users, they are meaningless. We have paraded here some military tools and means and we must have training to use them […] military officers must also know how to operate them too. They also have to have with them combating maps and compass […] I must also warn you that sweating in training field would ensure your life in battlefield. I notice that some military officers at every level have big tummies and they should make efforts to lose weights […] as far as training is concerned, I suggest (the Ministry of National Defense will) discuss in detail with the Ministry of Economy and Finance […]

Eighthly, regularly take good care of arms equipped to our forces. I am calling on every units of the armed forces – the army, navy, air forces, specialized forces such as artillery, engineering, etc. to take regular and good cares of their arms and weapons […] each and every soldier must take good care of his/her weapon. Tanks and armored vehicles also have to have regularly battery charged, oiling and fueling ready […] they cost dearly […]

Ninthly, looking after living condition of the troops, especially in remote areas. There needs to be attention to ensure that our troops are looked after for their living conditions and healthcare. We must look at them from toes to head and vice versa […] we have provided them in a timely manner raincoats for rainy seasons and clothes for cool weather, along with housing […] not only for soldiers in line of duties, care must also be taken for veterans […]

Tenthly, take up diplomatic role in building good neighborly relations and with countries in the world. The armed forces has a very important role to play to create a good neighborly relations between state and state, and improve trade relations, investments, tourism, etc. […] trade volume between Cambodian and Vietnam has grown to nearly five billion USD. With Thailand, we have reached over six billion USD […] we may opt for more cooperation with neighboring countries – Laos, Vietnam, Thailand – to assist people along the border when they are in disasters such as flood or forest fires, etc. […] let me reaffirm here that we will participate in the UN peacekeeping operations only and we are not joining anyone military alliances against other nations […] we are making friends. We build our army not for threatening anyone but for national defense. Where there are no aggressions, there are no needs to fight. Where there are no destructions of peace, no putsch of state power, there are no needs to use forces.

Army Defends Royal Government, Nothing Wrong about It

We cannot defend our country with empty hands from external threats and/or attempted unconstitutional putsch of power. Some said that Hun Sen is strengthening power. It is correct. As Prime Minister, I must make sure that Cambodia is not weak […] that the army is faithful to the Royal Government is a correct thing. That the Lon Nol’s army turned out to be unfaithful and launched a coup against Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk was a treason that led to the country’s destruction. That the army defends the Royal Government, there is nothing wrong about it […] there would be no need to ask for order. The court’s decision instructs arrest of anyone, just you do it. There is no need to ask where s/he is and from where s/he comes. No need to ask Hun Sen when it comes to carrying out the court’s decisions. I have said it already. Just you do it according to law, you will not be wrong […]./.