Selected Interview Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Given to China-Cambodia Friendship Radio, China Central Television, and Xinhua News Agency on the 70th Founding Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China [Unofficial Translation]


Question 1: […] this year is the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, what are your personal impressions on achievements scored by China in its 70 years’ development? […]

First of all, Cambodia is so happy and congratulating China’s 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic. In fact, at the time that China shrugged itself off its difficult condition and got the People’s Republic established, many countries in South East Asia and other regions were active in their fight for independence. The establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 70 years ago has created trust among many states under (foreign) colonialism at the time. At later stage, PRC played very important contributing role for peace in the region, especially in the 60s and 70s, while war still raged in Indochina. It went without saying that most of the struggle movements stemmed from the fight against colonialism and foreign aggressions for independence […] As for PRC’s progress, it is a miracle and showcases to the world how a country with 10% of the world land mass fed its people of about 20% (of the world population). A magnificent achievement under the leadership of the Communist Party of China […]

I have two remarks here. Firstly, when there was this 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, should China be hit by the same crisis, Asia would have been in a difficult situation. It was a good thing that China steered clear of the crisis. China’s role and economic growth stood countries in Asia to recovery sooner than later. Secondly, the 2008-09 world financial crisis and economic downturn had China playing its rescuing role once again. China recued not only economies in Asia but the world over […] I must say that China has helped itself, the region, and the world. Last but not least, President’s Xi Jinping’s initiative of One Belt One Road as well as the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road has attracted many countries, Cambodia included, with many cooperation projects. They are benefiting from the projects as we speak […]

In conclusion, China has passed the time of slow development and is now in its high development phase. As a friend of China, Cambodia wishes the Communist Party of China as well as the government and people of China further achievements for the sake of own progress and also for other countries in the region and the world […]

Question 2: China and Cambodia are two good friends from the ancient time. After the establishment of PRC, the two countries’ relations came through various tests and made many progresses […] would Samdech be elaborate on this relations?

Let me recite here a Chinese scholar’s slogan “a long road tests a horse strength.” We celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the diplomatic relations establishment between Cambodia and China last year – 2018. Reviewing the past, Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the nation’s King Father, Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod, recognized the People’s Republic of China since when it was not yet a member of the United Nations. I have a great respect on this vision of Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod as then head of state of Cambodia […] at a later stage, […] in 1996, during my visit to China, HE Jiang Zemin, then General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, said to me “HE Hun Sen is an old friend of China” […] we implemented the One-China policy and we are sure that China would not want anything from Cambodia but fidelity […]

I have always reminded my colleagues […] to adhere firmly to the one-China policy as it is a respect to China’s sovereignty and it is tantamount to respecting sovereignty of Cambodia itself […] that was the value led by Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk’s trailblazing efforts and Samdech Preah Borom Neat Sorodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, and I have followed the King Father’s path […] my impression on relation with China was that though it is a big and developed country, I always feel equality working with its leaders. Though Cambodia is small and we are searching assistance from bigger country, and the fact that sometimes I had to work with leaders who are my senior such as Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Wen Jiabao, etc., they all are respectful and never consider us small or younger in age. China has got a habit of talking less and doing more. We respect this. It has given us an ability to coexist, bind friendship, and work together for a long time to come. I think I have not said enough but it has revealed that respect of independence, sovereignty and mutual respect were the key elements for us to bond together […]

Question 3: […] China’s pursuance of five principles – peaceful coexistence, equality, mutual respect, non-interest aid […] do you think Chinese assistance play any roles for economic progress and development of Cambodia?

I already hit this point above. China provided us with unconditional assistance. China’s principle of respect of independence and sovereignty was the key point that enables Cambodia, other countries as well, to work well with China. There has never been a condition for Cambodia to do this or that. China always respect Cambodia’s decisions […] I may bring up this fact that should there be no Chinese help, Cambodia would not be able realize the construction of over 3,000 km road and bridges across rivers […] Cambodia’s internal connectivity depends largely on assistance from PRC […] China also assists us in getting connected with neighboring countries and (on to others in) the region […] an important point elaborated in the ASEAN agenda as well as efforts for integration in the framework of Greater Mekong Sub-region, even in Asia as a whole, I may say […]

Questions 4: As always, China adheres to peaceful policy and promotes good neighborly relations, friendliness, faithfulness, sharing interest, understanding, and tolerance. How do you see China’s role in regional and international security situation?

It was those policies that you have mentioned that is the foundation for China to gain more friends […] let me bring up this point as to who would benefit truly from the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area? It was the ASEAN countries in fact who would because China imports from ASEAN more than ASEAN imports from China […] the ASEAN Plus Three mechanism – ASEAN plus China, Japan, and South Korea, and ASEAN Plus each of the three – are good mechanisms. Two more mechanisms to mention here is the Lancang-Mekong that connects China with other countries in the Mekong region […] and the Greater Mekong Sub-region grouping together countries along the Mekong River – Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Asian Development Bank. They are interconnected from a political point of view to promote economic progress, trades, investments, tourism, and people-to-people relations […]

Questions 5: […] you just mentioned about how China built itself from poor to the biggest economy in the world. Could you set some lights on achievements from connecting China’s one belt and one road to Cambodia’s rectangular strategy?

When President Xi Jingping, the Vice President, visited Cambodia, he saw the possibility to synthesize the rectangular strategy with China’s one-belt one-road initiative. That has led to harmonious relations agreement between the two countries […] for Cambodia, it is a part (of a wider platform) connecting and drawing benefits from cooperation with PRC […] providing Cambodia with chance for progress through measures in one package and/or by sector of the PRC’s belt and road initiative. You may have seen with your own eyes now Cambodia’s progress with regard to infrastructures and other developments. We are reaping benefits from belt and road initiative synthesized with the rectangular strategy. I think, because of their similarities, we would be able to work together for a long time. It is in this meaning that we have termed our relations as comprehensive strategic partnership and iron friend […]

Question 6: […] as you know the world is having impacts from the US-China trade war. Some are maybe positive and some are negative to the world economy. What is your thought on that?

We all are aware of how trade war started and we all are concerned of impacts it may have on world economic growth. As far as tax imposed by the US on Chinese goods is concerned, and some other countries, has widened trade war to the world. It is still early to give an evaluation on where it will go and stop. There seems to some little hope that a conciliation is within reach to a certain extent, if not entirely, between the US and China, and other partners […] I have noticed that in this situation, many European countries have increased trades and businesses with China […] I am still optimistic that the countries involved (in the trade war) come to a conciliation. Should tension goes on, the world would face unimaginable downturn. We must continue to follow it up. As for Cambodia, we are working with our own strength to ensure our economy’s firmness and resilience, while minimizing possible impacts […] you may have seen already how Cambodia made efforts to stand up in this circumstance that external factors are not favorable, trade war tension included […]

Question 7Tell us any expectations you may have on future cooperation between Cambodia and China in political, economic and cultural fields, for instance.

I have been working for over 20 years to lay a foundation of our relations and upgrading it from good neighbor to good partner, and to comprehensive strategic partnership. Lately, President Xi Jinping called Cambodia China’s iron friend. I am optimistic that the relation continues to advance as we are preparing for the year of cooperation, for instance in the field of tourism and law enforcement, etc. […] for the sake of elevating our countries’ relations. In my recent visit to China, our Chinese friends promised to look into the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) in addition to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement. I am hopeful that CCFTA will come into being in the near future to help Cambodia access a market of 1,300 million populations. Such a development would give Cambodia’s chance for more progress. Companies from China will continue to invest in Cambodia […] you may have seen that Chinese tourist arrivals to Cambodia have increased remarkably and I wish to see five million tourists from China in Cambodia in the coming year. I wanted more though a bigger China market where goods from Cambodia can go in […] I wish to reach this goal and I hope China will respond on this wish […]

Question 8: […] we are coming from Cambodia-China Friendship Radio, and my colleagues are speaking Khmer […] do you have any comments on the Radio […] we are here eleven years now.

That is one aspect of cultural and information exchange, and people to people relation. I have observed that such exchanges provide chances for the Chinese people to understand about Cambodia, and the people of Cambodia about China. I encourage the Radio, TV stations and media to continue such cooperation […] we must help publicize information for/from each other to raise awareness in culture, tradition, custom, and other relations between our two countries and people […] to promote relations in culture, tourism, information, and even in politics and economy, or state to state relations. We should not overlook this point. Were there no such connection, we may not have understood each other […]./.