Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, to Cambodians Living, Working and Studying in the Republic of Korea (RoK) [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV:

Finally, We Meet

Today we meet. Unlike last year that I could not make it to Republic of Korea (RoK) […] dues to health condition of my mother in law […] if I were to leave her while she was in that state, people would have doubt “that he paid no attention her mother, how could any expect he would take care of us.” It was a difficult moment indeed. I missed the meeting with our people in Busan. That I am here today is because my mother in law’s health has been stable and she is now in intensive care at home […] I am happy we can finally meet and I know it is not easy for you to have a break from work to come to this gathering. I just watched a footage, on Facebook, of the so-called demonstration against Hun Sen. It was not a big demonstration as I heard […]

Cambodia and RoK, In-Law Countries

We may have noted that – you workers, students, and especially those of you who have married with the Korean citizens, Cambodia and RoK have become countries in law. We have over 8,000 Cambodians married to Koreans. There are over 10,000 Cambodian-Korean children. I have brought this matter up with President Moon Jae-in during his visit to Phnom Penh to find a way so that those children would be bilingual – Korean and Khmer. I may talked about it again when I meet him tomorrow, and with the RoK’s Prime Minister the day after tomorrow […]

Up and Down in Cambodia-Korea Diplomatic Relations 

Let me start with diplomatic relation between Cambodia and Korea to reveal whether my decision to reestablish relations with RoK and my visit to the country in 1996 was fruitful or not. I addressed this topic in the ASEAN-Korea summit in Australia […] when Korea was under the leadership of President Roh Moo-hyun. I made it an important point in my speech that should there be no joint efforts for diplomatic relation between Cambodia and Korea, it could have been a fact that Cambodia was a country in ASEAN that did not have diplomatic relation with RoK.

Relations between Cambodia and Korea sailed through many stages because of what happened in Korea and cold war […] Korea divided into two – North and South after the Korean War. That had also brought Cambodia’s foreign policy to fluctuate according to its political development too. Once, Cambodia had relations with both the North and the South. Later, the South left the relations. In between 1970 and 1975, relations with the North ceased, and restarted with the South. Under Pol Pot’s, Cambodia had had relations with only the North and not the South […]

From RoK’s Office of Representation to Embassy

I have tried to rebalance relations between the two Koreas since when Cambodia represented by the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC) in 1991 to occupy its seat in the United Nations. The two Koreas are members of the United Nations. I raised this need to have diplomatic relations with the two Koreas in the framework of Cambodia’s SNC. It was not a successful attempt. More time dragged. I invited a representative of South Korea from Bangkok to discuss what to do with me at my residence in Phnom Penh. I sought South Korea’s understanding and opened a representative office though it was not fair to RoK that Cambodia has ambassadorial level relation with the North. There was a positive response from RoK […]

I conducted a visit to RoK under President Kim Young-sam on my way back from attending the Consultative Group Meeting in Tokyo in the light of a memorandum of understanding signed by Cambodia and RoK. It was quite fortunate that one year after signing the agreement and the representative office was elevated to full diplomatic level when Samdech Preah Borom Ratanakaod Preah Sihanouk received credential letter of the RoK’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia […].

No Discontent in Over 20-Years Relations

It has been my prediction that based on facts of South Korean strong economic power relations in trade, investment, tourism, etc. must strive to support political relations […] as an architect of Cambodian relations with RoK, with support of HM the King, we could assess that the establishment of relation with RoK has been a great success […]. The two countries have come through many positive tests, and in the past over 20 years, there has never been any discontent in this relation.

It was true that some had had a reserve that it might bring about discontent from the North when Cambodia went into diplomatic relation with RoK. However, Cambodia is a friend to the North while both countries agreed that there are two countries. Was it unfair for Cambodia to make decision based on its independence? […] it was on this point that I advised Cambodian diplomats as well as officials at every level “to make political decisions – domestic and foreign – based on national interest, and to stand on position of independence to make decisions on external policies” […]

Working with RoK Presidents

For what happened in the history of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Korea, no one can hide the truth. It is a fact. I have started relation with RoK under President Kim Young-Sam, and then President Kim Dae-jung, under whose presidency the two countries have had full diplomatic relations. My insisting request in every visit to RoK for it to receive Cambodian workers and to provide human resource training and other assistances for Cambodia’s development received positive response. Under the late President Roh Moo-hyun, we celebrated direct flight between Cambodia and Korea. We came to the presidency of Lee Myung-bak […] we met in Cambodia. I invited him to be one of my economic advisors. In his electoral campaign, he wrote this in his CVs […]

I also have chance to work with President Park Geun-hye […] now we are working with President Moon Jae-in. He visited Cambodia already. We are proud because in 2018, Cambodia coordinated works between ASEAN and Korea. With other partners and RoK, Cambodia played invaluable coordinating role in organizing this ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit in Busan last year that I could not attend. We also have proposed to elevate the Mekong-Korea forum from ministerial level to those of heads of State and/or Government. We already have Lancang-Mekong cooperation and Japan-Mekong cooperation. RoK agreed to the rationales […]

Employers to Look after Workers

These are crucial for us to see progresses we made on relations between Cambodia and Korea. I am grateful to Korea for the high evaluation they made on Cambodian workers. We have some 37 Korean employers here present today. I am grateful for them to take their time to attend and to allow Cambodian workers to come to this meeting. What I am asking from you is to help me look after Cambodian citizens working in your factories and sites. They are my flesh and blood […]

RoK needs labor and it is lucky that Cambodian workers have their chances of coming to work in RoK legally and their performance received appreciation from our Korean partners. It is on this note that we are seeking the RoK consideration to allow us to send more workers here. They will receive not only monthly salary but also skills, with which after leaving RoK back to Cambodia, they could find jobs with Korean companies and/or set up business that help employ other Cambodians […]

Bilateral Trade Relations: Mango and Clothes from Cambodia

According to the figures registered by RoK, bilateral trade volume stood at 1,032 million USD, of which Cambodia’s share of export to Korea is 335 million USD, and from Korea to Cambodia is 696 million USD. There is a trade imbalance indeed. There is no other option. We are in demand of imports from RoK such as raw material, with which we process and export to other markets […] I do not know if you have a chance to purchase mango here imported from Cambodia. Cambodian mango has come to markets in RoK now. This helps explain progress of Cambodian economy in a way because we are now able to meet standard of markets in an advanced country like RoK. It will also help those in Cambodia who grow mango […] we are seeking chances to exports more products/produces to such markets […]

National Roads 2 and 22 and Highway from National Road 4 to Koh Kong

In my dialogue with President of RoK tomorrow, I will focus on strengthening these relations. Based on our record, from 1996 through to 2018, RoK provided over 300 million USD in grant. In 2019, the grant was 17 million USD and in 2020, RoK has plan to provide another 24 million USD. As for development financing, as of November 2019, Cambodia received 889 million USD, of which we have used 442 million USD already. For a period from 2019 through to 2023, Korea earmarked a credit package of 700 million USD for ten more projects.

In this February, I will preside over the groundbreaking ceremony for the reconstruction of national roads 2, from the roundabout of Takhmao of Kandal province to national road 2, and 22 that is running through Kandal to Takeo and to Kompot provinces. We also have another road that needed to be a highway to run from national road 4 through to Koh Kong […] I have brought other projects to the attention of RoK. I think our Korean friends are in consideration. I told them about the friendship bridges of Cambodia and Japan at Jroy Jangva, Kizuna, Tsubasa, of Cambodia and China in Stoeung Treng’s Sekong and Mekong […]

Cambodian Workers to Abide by RoK’s Laws

We continue to observe the good relation with RoK. I am seeking nieces and nephews living, studying, and working in Korea to abide by laws of the RoK. We wish to see you abide by RoK laws and refrain from causing problems to RoK law and order […] we have more flights now between Cambodia and RoK, something like 50 flights per weeks. We have most flights from outside the region from China now because they come from different destinations (in China). Previously, RoK had the most flights. Japan, after noticing increase of air travelers, is considering adding more flights. We must work together to attract investment from RoK to Cambodia […]

To Visit Cambodians in Wuhan if China Allows

I do not see anyone wearing mask today. If you needed to, just do it. Some have commented on what I said the other day and mocked me for it […] saying “Hun Sen should visit people in Wuhan, China.” Let me reply to Hun Sen will go if China allows. You do not have to mock Hun Sen for that. Hun Sen fought in wars, risked his head to save the nation, his life for national unity and ending the war, why (it would be your though that) Hun Sen dare not go to Wuhan to visit Cambodian students? […]

I will, if the government of China allows […] I made a decision to close no flights with China. I have asked the Secretary of State for Cambodia’s Civil Aviation to confirm with China that we do no cancellation of flights to/from China. In fact, from Wuhan, China has stopped flights in and out by itself to put Wuhan in quarantine. They allowed no train services and transportation of other means. They have responsibly taken relevant measures […]

Cambodia Closes No Flights with China

There are countries that adheres to measures of closing flights to/from China. I do not. In reality, is there a Cambodian infected by the virus from the fact that we continue to have flights to/from China? There has been a case with a Chinese citizen. We put him in quarantine and provide him with treatments. Some spread news of Chinese infected in Koh Kong while in fact they left Cambodia for their country already […]

Some could not understand meaning of what I said “sharing happiness and suffering together.” They rebuked it with their irrational argument “does that mean if they are infected with coronavirus, we must be too?” […] if we our students were to leave Wuhan or China in circumstance like that, how could they cope up with class that they now have taught online instead. Worse still, would China allow you to come back to continue what you did? However, it is not possible to speak to ears pretending to be deaf […]

We may see issues relating to closing flights to/from China. Around Cambodia, only Laos has not had yet the novel coronavirus case reported […] (so besides China) are we going to close every flights from other countries as well and keep only the flight with Laos? For example, there have been 15 cases in RoK, are we going to shut down flight to/from RoK too? What would happen to investors who have their businesses, factories, enterprises, to manage in Cambodia, or you, for instance, to go to Cambodia?

Just Live How Koreans People Would

Whatever they say is their rights. Let me tell you if students (in China’s Wuhan) wish to leave, you may ask yourself, how far you would be safe, when the disease is also reaching Cambodia. You may bring the disease by yourselves to Cambodia. Now that China is in control, they must be able to provide help or cure to everyone, our students included. What would they have when they go back to Cambodia and we do not have vaccines if they were infected? […] some in the opposition said “Hun Sen is dangerous than coronavirus.” If they said so, how do their parents live in Cambodia, I doubted […]

Well, I know that you needed to get ready to return to resume works tomorrow. I also had no Saturday and Sunday last week. After allowing other (members of the CPP Convention) talk one day and a half, I had a four-hour discourse […] I hope that our people living, working and studying here in RoK will, no matter what happens – for instance a disease from Africa a few years back, you just continue to do whatever you are doing […]

In 2013-14, there was threat of war (on the Korean Peninsula). Many had concerns and asked me to evacuate Cambodian workers. I am seeking your understanding of the situation and do not because no fear taking your leave or cease relations with Korea. Though negotiation between the North and the US has not yet resumed, we hope that relations between the North and the South continues to be in good term, a source of détente in the Korean peninsula. President Moon Jae-in visited the North and it would be a possibility too for President Kim Jung-un to visit the South […] my advice is for whatever happens you just live with the people of Korea. Live how they live it. I am sure employers will exercise their responsibility for that matter […]

Proud To Be Architect of Cambodia-RoK Relation

It is clear that political, diplomatic, economic and trade relations, and those of other sectors have brought about progress for Cambodia. Cambodia benefits more from the decision to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries. I am happy and proud to be the one who overcame obstacles and put Cambodia and RoK relations back on track. It would have been a disappointment indeed should the efforts not only angers the North but also bring about no progress in economy and trade. I could have been a failure. However, in the light of all this, I can speak with pride that it is a successful story […]

Peaceful Negotiation to Korean Peninsula

It is true that we could not avoid respecting the UN resolution concerning North Korea. We had no choice. It is the UN resolution that we must respect. However, we also continue normal relations with the North. We do not make enemy with North Korea. Along with this, we insist for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and settlement through negotiation. Whether it be a negotiation between North Korea and the US, North Korea and South Korea, or the multilateral negotiation are all by peaceful means […]./.