Selected Speech Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Inaugural Speech of the Cambodia-China Friendship Hospital Tbong Khmum [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV:

The Largest, Most Modern Among Hospitals in Provinces

I am happy to join His Excellency Wang Wentian, as well as His Excellency, Lok Chumteav, Ladies and Gentlemen, as well as my compatriots to inaugurate the largest and most modern hospital in provincial level in the Kingdom of Cambodia. We have received a new achievement that is the result of the friendly relations and solidarity between Cambodia and China previously built by His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk with the former Chinese leaders. It takes place in a time when Cambodia and China have reached the point of expanding their comprehensive strategic partnership and steel friendship, as well as the Cambodian-Chinese community of common destiny.

The achievements that we see here are unprecedented in the territory of this province, which is a huge facility for serving the well-being of the people. This hospital has been our goal in the past. When we submitted a proposal to the People’s Republic of China to build this hospital, we explained to our Chinese friends that this hospital would sit in Tbong Khmum, a location not only serve the people in Tbong Khmum, but also part of Prey Veng, Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces […]

I would like to point out that during the Covid-19 phase, some countries lacked oxygen to supply patients. Please be informed that this Cambodia-China Friendship Hospital Tbong Khmum has its own oxygen production facility, which can supply not only for the hospital here, but also to other referral hospitals in Tbong Khmum province or nearby provinces as well. This is just to show and remind you all that this hospital can also provide the most valuable and hard to find in time of need products for health […] during the Covid-19 phase, we set up oxygen production facilities in many provinces and in many hospitals. Today we have this sophisticated hospital and I hope it will serve our people well for their well-being […]

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Samdech Krala Hom Sar Kheng, Chairman of the Tbong Khmum Urban Development Steering Committee, a newly formed province, which from then until now has emerged as a city of Tbong Khmum with many other achievements, including high school […]

Through His Excellency Wang Wentian, let me convey my gratitude, on behalf of the people of Cambodia as a whole and Tbong Khmom and adjacent provinces in particular, to His Excellency President Xi Jinping as well as His Excellency Premier Li Keqiang for the hospital’s direct attention. President Xi Jinping, as well as Prime Minister Li Keqiang, have made this achievement possible. Another achievement scheduled for inauguration also in this March, though we have not yet decided on it yet because of other uncertain schedules, will be the Cambodia-China Friendship Hospital Preah Kosamak, which we previously planned to inaugurate on March 28. Due to uncertain schedules of the special ASEAN-US meeting, we will decide in the inaugural date as it comes.

May 12 WEF in Davos, Back in Cambodia on May 16

The United States has announced that they would host the US-ASEAN meeting on March 28 and 29, but Indonesia, the mediator, has not yet agreed on a date. Many ASEAN leaders are demanding a meeting on March 26 and 27, while the United States has also confirmed at the senior officials’ level that the United States cannot reschedule their time […]. If (the US-ASEAN meeting were to take place at another date) I propose to return the Kosamak Hospital inaugural event from April 7 to March 28, the date that we have already prepared a few months ago. I hoped that ASEAN and the United States would find a suitable time for meeting […]

However, for Cambodia (if) entering the month of June, I cannot leave the country. In general, in May and June, I could not leave the country. ASEAN chair cannot leave. If the ASEAN chair does not go, it means that the meeting will not take place […] Cambodia will have its communes/Sangkats Councilors elections. As the Prime Minister, I could not leave the country. I just wished to send a message in advance that from mid-May to mid-June, in general, within a month period, I cannot leave the country. I have planned a work program though. I planned to go to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) between 12 and 17 May, but I have to be back in the country on the 16th for my work.

China Builds Two Hospitals worth More Than 100 M US Dollars

What I mentioned is to relate to another China built hospital. These two hospitals alone cost more than 100 million US dollars – which is a grant from the People’s Republic of China. We have made tremendous efforts to enhance the well-being of our people and through the Cambodia’s health sector. Cambodia has taken responsible steps on the well-being of our people. I would not deny the insult that the Cambodian health system is weak because it is true that we are weak in terms of technical equipment, but our morale is not weak.

For example, the fight with Covid-19, how many people in the world would believe that Cambodia could win the pandemic. Cambodia recognizes itself as lacking, but with the conscience and responsibility of our medical team, with the help of development partners, including the People’s Republic of China, it has made Cambodia one of the least damaged countries in the world, compared with countries with advanced technology. The key here is not to have over-reliance on technical equipment. We needed the technical equipment, but the bigger problem is the professional conscience of responsible doctors.

Cambodia Eradicated Polio, Promotes Health Cooperation with Neighbors

We used to go through the hardships left by the bitter past of the Pol Pot regime. Our people are in danger after the Pol Pot regime, and they left us with a long and difficult conflict. However, we are constantly rising and moving forward. Cambodia has successfully put a stop to polio ahead of schedule. In the past, as we set a goal of getting rid of polio, if I am not mistaken, by 2000, we had one major concern. The concern was that our country still had two partitions and two governments after UNTAC – United Nations Transitional Authority withdrew from Cambodia […] the war continues. What we needed to think about then was whether we could afford to vaccinate children in the Khmer Rouge area. It was fortunate that our win-win policy implemented from 1996 to 1998 allowed us to end polio […] and since 2000, Cambodia has been free of polio […]

In the course of negotiations with neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, I never forget to mention to them that in case the Cambodian side has a difficult time (to provide access to its people along the border), friends should help give them vaccines […] not only the polio vaccine, but other vaccines as well. If people live across the border and they travel long distances back inside the country, it is difficult. If they cross to Vietnam, to Thailand or somewhere, some cross to Laos, it is closer. We would carry out the same approach – allowing access to people who are closer to health and medical service for each other […]

Eliminate Malaria by 2025, Life Expectancy Reaches 70 from 56 in 1998

We are now working on a number of plans, including a complete malaria eradication plan by 2025, in which our partners, including the People’s Republic of China, are actively involved in eradicating malaria. Not only with Cambodia, this cooperation is between the Mekong and Lancang countries as along the Mekong River, presence of malaria is very high. In the Mekong-Lancang program, the first meeting in China, the second meeting in Cambodia, and the third meeting in Laos focused on malaria eradication. Our other partners have also joined us to eradicate malaria by 2025 […]

I would like to inform our people that in 1998, the average life expectancy at that time was only 56 years. Now, the life expectancy of the people is more than 70 years. It is thought that some may die in 60 years, some in 55 years, but some die in their 80 years of age, some die in their 90 years of age, so in total now more than 70 years in Cambodia. That is what we have achieved in term of life expectancy as benefit from peace and development […]

New Tbong Khmum Province Helps on Health, Administration and Judiciary

Our concern in the past was that we thought that in the east of the Mekong River like Tbong Khmum province and our northeast, which includes Kratie, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, what we could do to address the need for health services. Now, when we reorganize the provinces, we divided Kampong Cham to two provinces – one is Kompong Cham itself and another in Tbong Khmum province. It has proved solving many problems, not just the health sector alone, even the administration or the judiciary […] in Tbong Khmum, there is now a court of appeal. Earlier, after the Provincial Court, people had to go to Phnom Penh for appeal. People have to travel a long way. Each lawsuit costs a lot of money. (That is why I urge people to) find a solution outside the court system. Later, we reformed the judiciary by setting up regional appeal courts and we have chosen to have one in Tbong Khmum to serve justice […]

China Will Continue to Help Cambodia Fight against Covid-19.

We are fighting a new war, Covid-19. We fought for two years already. A moment ago, HE Wang Wentian said in his sentence and I quote, “as long as the epidemic of Covid-19 in Cambodia does not end, China’s assistance to Cambodia in the fight against Covid-19 does not stop.” This is good news. This means that our Chinese friends will continue to help us in the fight against Covid-19. No matter where I go, I continue to call on our people to take care of their personal health in connection with the Covid-19. Currently, in Cambodia we are in a time that Omicron invaded us.

Alpha, Delta may still have some, but very few, but Omicron is more […] Omicron is highly contagious but less lethal. However, we may not have known fully yet about the consequences that come with it later? Scientist have determined yet how long it will take to get out of the Omicron. It is better that we continue to practice the “3 Dos and 3 Don’ts” protections measures. We must continue the booster dose. I thank our people across the country who, in a short time, have brought their children aged between 3 and 4-year-olds for injection. We have now injected about 36 percent of more than 610,000 children […]

Vaccines Are for Economy or to Run Economic Activities

Please continue to work together to get vaccination. We have now reached almost 7.5 million people vaccinated with booster doses. This requires time. There is an interval from the basic dose to the booster dose […] as for those who injected 4 doses, we have recoded about one million people already […] that is the only option we have. I use a definition that vaccine is economical. Why do I say vaccines are economics? If we did not vaccinate this year, we might not be able to celebrate New Year. Not only we could not celebrate the New Year, people died. This year, the New Year is still going on, because now, like yesterday, Saturday, Sunday, two days only and there are 190,000 tourists. Well, we continue in the process of vaccination, vaccines are economical now.

Without vaccination, community immunity does not exist. If it does not exist, how can we reopen the economy? How to communicate? Do foreigners dare to enter? Last night, for the first time in months, a commercial aircraft landed in Sihanoukville. For a while now, it was only in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Last night there was a welcoming landing in Sihanoukville, and there would be more flights to come. That would enable economic recovery. Although tourism is not yet at its former peak, traveling to Cambodia to invest is easy. In Cambodia, there is no requirement to go into quarantines. Those fully vaccinated would just go through rapid test, which after proving negative (of Covid-19), s/he can just go wherever they need to […]

Expired Vaccines Not Allowed

We hope the People’s Republic of China will continue to provide vaccines and some development partners plan to ship it in this March. It has been a few days in March now. They have reported to me (that those vaccines are) from Europe. We do not know yet when they would arrive. I heard that its expiration is at the end of March. What should we receive them for if they expire in late March? I would like to affirm that even if Cambodia were to have no vaccines […] I would not allow vaccination of expired vaccines […] that needs discussing again. When concerned institutions asked for my advice, it was in February. It is now March 7. Tomorrow (March 8) (Women’s Day) […]

Building More Facilities for New Generations

Today, by seeing the work we do here, we have greatly reduced the hardships of the people. I keep saying the same thing: “The hospital is clean, but there must be good service so that the patients recover faster.” We have to work hard to ensure that our team of doctors are working effectively […] our roads (here) are far bigger than those roads in Phnom Penh because we have planned for future development. The previous generation builds achievements for the next generation. We have done it. Now we build all the achievements for the next generation, while the next generation will continue to build for their next generation, and we must ensure that war will never happen to destroy them again […]

Cosponsoring Resolution of Emergency Special Session of the UNGA on Ukraine

HE Wang Wentian raised the issue of Ukraine. I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm and inform the people. I still remember that (morning) when we inaugurated National Road 3, I spoke on two major principles in Cambodia’s decision: First, we do not encourage the separation of states. Second, we do not support or oppose the use of force or the threat of force, and we call for negotiations because we do not think war can end war. We have been monitoring the situation closely. We see that this war is moving forward. That is why Cambodia decided to join the cosponsoring of the Resolution of the Emergency Special Session of the UNGA on the situation in Ukraine. I issued the order only three and a half hours before the vote. We cannot ignore the large-scale offensive from one country to another. Cambodia has to adopt a certain attitude. This is not about who lobbied us, it is about a sovereign state principle regarding decisions related to whether or not to support it.

Russia-Ukraine War: “For Talks to Start, Ceasefire Is to Begin with”

The war continued to escalate. I told Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, HE Prak Sokhon, to have an urgent discussion with our ASEAN partners, calling for a ceasefire. I do not believe that Russia can win the war in Ukraine […] and Ukraine cannot kill all Russian troops on Ukrainian territory […] the best option is to negotiate. For negotiations to start, they must begin with a ceasefire. Russia, of course, and Ukraine have agreed on a ceasefire, but only for a short time […] in the wake of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ statement, we call for a ceasefire and, at the very least, a truce. The term we have used in the ASEAN Declaration is only for ceasefire.

What I mean was the “ceasefire” that forces involved stayed where they are, but stop the firing to reduce the disaster for the people and start negotiations. I agree with His Excellency Wang Wentian on the one hand that there has to be a negotiation between Russia and Ukraine to resolve the bilateral dispute, and on the other hand, a negotiation between NATO and Europe with Russia on Russia’s relevant concerns over its security. Only this option can make the world return to detent.

Cambodia Does Not Encourage Further Conflict

I urge the people not to go so far as to volunteer to join Ukraine as some in other countries do. I do not give the opportunity to go, because first, there is nothing to transport and second, do not pour gasoline on the fire. The fire is burning. If there is a fire, put out the fire. Do not ignite in the way that some Cambodians are volunteering to fight in Ukraine. This is just an empty encouragement. Ukraine, they would not allow us to join their army […] we do not have the ability to do that. Do not go so far as to call for troops to help fight on Ukrainian soil. I do not want (the Cambodian people) to die on the territory of Ukraine. The Constitution of Cambodia (Article 53) prohibits sending forces to outside the country or from outside the country to station within the country […] except under the auspices of the United Nations.

This is the time to find a solution or otherwise the world may be more chaotic. The world will be agitated by a serious economic crisis. Covid-19 caused by Omicron is one thing, but economy will decline due to […] the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Frankly, the Russian attack on Ukraine is something we do not want. We also explained to our Russian friends why we had to adopt such an attitude and we did not encourage further conflict. The negotiation needs happen to avoid death and focus on the mutual reasonableness that is acceptable in a long term […]

Ukraine Called for Peace after Loss of Human Rights, Democracy and Deaths

What caught the attention of our local political circles and journalists these days is when the President of Ukraine said – “Now Ukraine’s top priority is peace.” Our analysts and our commentators say that in Cambodia, (Peace has always had the) top priority attention. It is now time for the war-torn country to shout for peace. In the past, they did not shout for peace, they only shouted for democracy and human rights. Now, human rights are gone, democracy is gone and people are dead. As for us here, we focus on peace as our top priority. Why? To guarantee the right to life, and if the right to life guaranteed, the right to freedom of expression, democracy and human rights are guaranteed. If dead, what else guarantee could there be? These are what the commentators elaborated when the President of Ukraine said that the country’s top priority now is peace.

Cambodia has focused on peace for more than 20 years now. In fact, we have been working for more than 40 years for this peace alone. Can we let a group of people destroy our peace? Now the reality is happening in Ukraine, in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen. Now it is happening in Europe. European countries, although not yet under attack, are now focusing on security and peace in the continent. Well, I hope that outsiders who see the importance of politics giving top priority to peace must also understand us, because there is no need for war to happen to call for peace. If there is a war and if it erupts (in Cambodia), this time there will probably be no Hun Sen to launch the win-win policy for a second time […]

That is why Cambodia attaches the highest priority to peace. It is that regard that I always remind people of the need to maintain peace, political stability, and macroeconomic stability. Hold on to them firmly. With those ensured, Cambodia is moving forward […]./.