Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Groundbreaking Ceremony to Build Expressway between Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanoukville [Unofficial Translation]


Peace and Good Relations Brings about Expressway Project

In addition to the reports by Public Works and Transports Minister HE Sun Chanthol, by President of China Road & Bridge Corporation Co., Ltd., Company, (CRBC) and HE Kong Xuanyou, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, allow me to make a point on what has brought us all to launch the groundbreaking of this expressway project? Firstly, Cambodia is in peace. With peace in the country, we have achieved development, through which we are working to address numerous challenges such as connectivity, transports, and communication. Secondly, we have welcome investment from a Chinese company. This has clearly explained if there were no good relations with China, there would not be Chinese investors in Cambodia.

First Public Private Partnership Project

Let me reiterate that should there be no vehement decisions to support the project by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li keqiang, we would not be able to set off this two billion USD expressway project. For this amount of money, we may be able to build nearly one thousand Kilometers of simple paved roads. For this huge project, CRBC has had to borrow money from the Bank of China at a high commercial interest rate […] through my works with President Xi and Premier Li, we have come to a solution, in which our Chinese friends provide a sum of 150 million USD to support the project. Should there be no confidence and a friendship nature between the two nations, we would not be able to set off the project today. It is a huge project and we can say it is the first of its kind large-scale commencement of partnership between state and private sector on investment of the P3 infrastructure – Public Private Partnership […]

To Achieve a Fourth Economic Pole

The expressway will be so important for our effort to connect between Phnom Penh – the first economic pole, to Preah Sihanoukville – the second economic pole. Cambodia has determined three zones of development or three economic poles – Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanoukville and Siem Reap. We have a vision for the fourth economic pole in the northeast, which is going to be a strong agro-industrial one. We have already promoted investments in infrastructures, with China financial assistance, in the area.

Cambodia Needs More Roads …

As of present, our Chinese friends have helped us rebuilt the National Roads and built many bridges – in all over three thousand kilometers, over one thousand Kilometers of which built by CRBC. Let me inform the Chinese Foreign Minister HE Kong Xuanyou that the length of 3,000 Kilometers is just the beginning. We need more. We have sent to our Chinese friends Cambodia’s annual plan for construction requirement. This is going to be an important connectivity achievement.  We are going to improve connectivity between Phnom Penh and the coastal areas where we branded “rising star in the southwest” […]

SEA Games Hosted in May 2023

I am proud indeed of what have happened in the country under my leadership. Let me tell you that this expressway is going to be ready in March 2023. It is in this remark that I wish to take this opportune moment to inform people in the whole country that Cambodia is going to host SEA Games in May 2023 […]. Since we are going to have the general elections in July 2023, and normally we would have many works to do after that – like forming the Royal Government and so on […] on this note, the expressway will be ready for the event. There would be sports and events to take place in the coastal areas. Not every sports and events will take place only in the Chinese built stadium (Morodok Techo). In that case, they may be able to use the expressway […]

Expressway to Preah Sihanoukville – BOT Project

This expressway will serve not only to resolve related interest between Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanoukville. It plays an important part in stimulating economy in the whole country through that fact of bringing the prices of transportation down and reducing the time needed for travelling […] it is a toll road. People pay toll to use the roads and/or bridges. We may see the benefit from traveling only two and a half hours on expressway to or from rather than a five hours traveling on inferior road and congested traffics condition […] it is a BOT project. I urge our people not to let themselves believe unconstructive propaganda about us purchasing land for the Chinese company […] after ending the operation contract, they will transfer the road to the state and we will see what to do with it.

China to Colonize No Country

Some may come around and fool you about China coming to colonize Cambodia […] even if the Chinese wanted to control us Cambodia, we would not allow them to. I make it clear to you and everyone today. Today, I am talking this in the presence of the Vice Foreign Minister of China. We have seen clearly that China has no goal of putting a control on anyone. Unlike some countries who wish to place commands on sovereign states to do what they wanted those states to […]

BRICS, AIIB, etc. Help Poor Countries

Many countries of ASEAN along the “one belt one road” benefit from China economic progress. I remember that in 2016-17, there was this meeting on one belt one road and the 21st Century Silk Road in the People’s Republic of China. It was my impression then that there have been many connectivity initiatives in the region – ASEAN, East Asia and the Asia Highway linking Asia through to Turkey. However, we have a big problem of finding capital to get them off. President Xi, while announcing the initiatives, then declared a credit fund of 40 billion USD […] in addition to the BRICS Development Bank (or New Development Bank), Cambodia has become one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank (AIIB) […] that are providing helps to poor countries […]

Jiang Zemin: “HE Hun Sen – An Old Friend of China”

You may check again minutes of my meetings with our Chinese friends from 1996. When I met with the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Head of State, HE Jiang Zemin said a sentence “HE Hun Sen is an old friend of China.” You may check those minutes and you will see that I never asked our Chinese friends to help me buy cars or airplanes for personal use. Never. About 70% of my request for assistance from China is concerning Cambodia’s infrastructures – roads and bridges, water canals, etc. […] we have attracted Chinese investment in electricity which is one of our four priorities. Declaring in 1987, or 32 years ago, the four prioritized areas – water/irrigation, roads, electricity and human resource – has proved and continued to prove their relevancies […]

Seeking Loans and Grants for Roads/Bridge Infrastructures

We are working on a four-lane road from Prek Kadam (of Kandal) to the border with Thailand. We are seeking more loans and even grants from friends for our roads and bridges infrastructural development. We even go for a BOT investment like this road, for instance. We are working on promoting interactions in transportation […] we have means of transportation but our roads are not strong enough to support them. With the Republic of Korea assistance, we enlarged the NR 3 from seven meter width to 12 meters.

However, transportation has so far increased in volume. We needed to seek financial assistance from the People’s Republic of China to build it bigger […] we have to ensure working road network to the coastal areas – like the national road 4, national road 3, the 190-Km expressway we are building now. In addition to those, we are going to make full potential use of railway to address demand for transportation to support our economic growth […] we are talking millions tons not hundreds of thousands of goods to go in containers abroad as before […]

Foreign Investments and Loans Welcome

We are in need of more capitals from development partners and China has been one of them. Let me state it clearly that we are open to foreign partners. You are welcome to invest in Cambodia. You are welcome to provide loans to Cambodia. Some say Cambodia has been too close to China and that has made them difficult to conduct business. Let me ask you, have you ever done any substantial businesses with us? None. When China comes and seeks for investment opportunity, we provide them with ones. We never deny any foreign companies […] we have companies not only from China here but also from Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, the US, Europe, etc. China alone would not be able to do it all […]

Friends in Respects of Independence and Sovereignty

The European banks have offered us loans. We received them. The Asian Development Bank offers us loans. We accepted. The World Bank gives us loans. We accepted. We welcome all. Cambodia does not close its door. However, they should not just talk and do nothing. In addition to that, some of them places Cambodia in their geopolitical endeavors. No way. Cambodia needs friends who would come to work with us on equal right and footing principles to help us development the country through either grants, concessional financial assistance, or even sending in investors. We hold no discrimination against anyone. We only ask for relation and partnership that respects Cambodia’s independence and sovereignty, with equal rights and footing […]

Water Resource and Meteorology – Rains Throughout the Country

As of present, Cambodia is not alone in this shortage of drinking water and hydropower to generate electricity. However, according to the Minister of Water Resource and Meteorology, tonight and probably from tomorrow – 23 and 24 March – there would be rain almost throughout the country […] that is a good news. If rains fell (in reservoirs), it would reduce our stressful situation about shortage of water and eventually adjusting temperature to a bit lower […] the more and quicker rains come, the better chance for turbines to turn and generate electricity […] a person in Kompong Chhnang has blamed me about this incident. I warn you not to keep making baseless comments about shortage of electricity or (relevant authority would) invite you for an investigation […]

A Big RGC Delegation to PRC in April

I will have a meeting with a US senator from the state of Washington. He even came and attended our celebration of the January 7 victory. He also came and observed elections in Cambodia last year […] we will discuss a number of issues. This morning I met with the Chinese power. This afternoon I will meet with the US power. I have relations with China. I have relation with the US. I have maintained relations with everyone. The issue is we must treat each other with respect […] in April, after the Khmer New Year, I will be present in Beijing for this forum of “one road one belt” forum. The RGC delegation will be a big one. Three Deputy Prime Ministers will come along […] we have many projects to sort out […]

An International Conference Centre in Preah Sihanoukville

I am asking a Chinese company to consider building an International Conference Centre in Preah Sihanoukville. I have delegated this task to HE Chea Sophara (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction). I wish to roll out the ASEAN summit, and related Summits in Preah Sihanoukville by end of 2022. We could finish the construction in time. A Chinese company has ensured that the Kong Keng Airport that they are working on extending and enlarging to accommodate larger airplanes would get it ready in 2021 or by early 2022 […]. In April 2022, we will host the ASEAN members meetings in Siem Reap and we will host the ASEAN summits with partnering countries in Preah Sihanoukville […] we may not have our expressway ready but we will have French-invested airport ready and buildings to host summits […]

Infrastructures Laid for Later Generations

We also need to ensure that our country continue to keep going on the path of development. We are working not only airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. We are also looking at possibilities to have another airport in the northeast – the fourth economic pole somewhere between the provinces of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri. That would encompass agroindustry, ecotourism, and other sectors altogether to bring our country from lower middle income to higher middle income in 2030 and higher income vision by 2050 […] whether I will be living until then no one knows, this would be a roadmap of infrastructures for later generations […]

Thank You China

I depend on the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China to deliver my sincere thanks to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang as well as the government and people of China for providing always assistance to Cambodia to address our needs of hard and soft infrastructures […]. I thank our people for cooperating with this project. I am calling on you to resolve project-related land impacts along five provinces – Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kompong Speu, Koh Kong, and Preah Sihanouk […] they should not ask for too high price […] the state has a law on expropriation in hands. In case we cannot resolve the fact of land prices, we may resort to enacting law of expropriation […] once the state interest requires to do so, I am seeking your understanding (and not to ask for too high a price for land in your belonging) […]

Saving to Provide Counterpart Funds

For instance, this segment (of National Road 1) at Chbar Ampeo, Phnom Penh, Japan spent 12 million USD to rebuild it but the Royal Government had to pay 14 million USD for impacts compensation […] as for early this year, not even three months yet, I have signed out spending a sum of nearly 100 million USD as counterpart funds. We are providing counterpart funds of three, five and six million USD to numerous projects […] in some instances we have had to purchase people’s land […] it is on this remark that I always hold on to principle of keeping capital in hand to provide as counterpart funds when it is required. Sometimes the share of counterpart fund is up to 30% (of the total project costs) […]./.