Selected Speech Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Inauguration of National Road No. 3 from Choam Chao Roundabout, Phnom Penh, to Kampot City [Unofficial Translation]


NR 3 – a New Achievement of Cambodia-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

His Excellency Wang Wentian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia, Excellencies, Ladies and Compatriots!

Today, we gather for the official inauguration of the 134.806 Kilometers National Road 3, which connects Phnom Penh with Kampot. This road runs through five provinces – Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Speu, Takeo and Kampot. This indicates another new achievement born in the relationship between Cambodia and China, within the framework of a comprehensive strategic partnership, a friendship as strong as steel, and the common destiny of Cambodia and China. I still remember that on May 7, 2018, along with former Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Xiong Bo, I presided over the groundbreaking ceremony to build this road, connecting our country from north to the south and between cities on Cambodia’s coastal provinces. At the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, as the country reopened after the slight relief of Covid-19, we have inaugurated and launched the groundbreaking of more sites (built) with the assistance provided by (friendly countries), People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea, and Japan. Today we inaugurate the road here, and next week His Excellency Wang Wentian and I will jointly inaugurate a large hospital in Tbong Khmum province. These are the results of Cambodia’s cooperation with all countries, and especially with the People’s Republic of China.

National Road 3 Distributes Salt to Markets across the Country

HE Sun Chanthol just made a report on the technical characteristics and HE Wang Wentian made an impression on the development of Cambodia. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you so that we can understand our efforts of such connectivity […] as HE Sun Chanthol reported, we have already rebuilt this road once with the help and funding of the Republic of Korea. In order for Korea to help with this road, I remember that I was negotiating with His Excellency Roh Moo-hyun, former President of the Republic of Korea, at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh before he and I traveled to Siem Reap to launch the Angkor-Kyung Yu Exhibition. I insisted that he helped Cambodia with National Road 3, and what I stressed at the time was that the National Road 3 played a very important role because Kampot was the only province that produces salt. Therefore, the construction of National Road No. 3 will facilitate us in distributing salt easily and keeping price under control to provinces across the country […] this is the point that attracted the attention of former Korean President Roh Moon-hyun […]

Premier Li Keqiang Signed National Road 3 Financing on January 3, 2018

For the road construction strategy from the 90s until the year 2000, we only think of building longer road. Our road at that time was only 11 meters wide with normal paving method. We soon see that the road capacity outstretched because the traffic on National Road 3 has grown tremendously. Therefore, along with this dilapidated road, we filed a request to the People’s Republic of China to study the expansion of this road further. The Chinese side has agreed to provide financing for the expansion of the road connecting Phnom Penh with Kampot province […] it was in January 2018, when His Excellency the Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang came to Cambodia for the Lancang-Mekong Summit in Phnom Penh and official visit, we signed a financing agreement for this road […]

Overpass Steers Pedestrians Clear of Accidents

Just now, HE Sun Chanthol also reminded about the construction of an overpass for pedestrians and the owner of the market said that building (the overpass for pedestrians) would take away the beauty of the market. I instructed in writing that we “must build it and if they disagreed, we could take the market back.” That was to say in short. As the road is now 24 meters wide, cars passing could have problem with pedestrians, and accident would cause damages to the market too […] we need to study if we needed to build more overpasses […] to avoid accidents (for pedestrians) […]

When we have (more than one) lanes like this, and we now have them in National Road 3, National Road 6, National Road 5 and National Road 1, we should allow high speed (driving) up to 100 kilometers per hour. We needed to identify which roads we would allow high speed driving though […] as driving at a speed of 40 kilometers per hour would leave the traffic in congestion […] for this road we have installed speed checking cameras … on this road there are 10 cameras. If you drive too fast, they catch the speed and they issue and send the fine to the driver’s house […]

Roads Building Strategy Have Changed

Our road building strategy has changed. In the 1980s, we tried to build the road as long as we could. That is why, brothers and sisters say that “continuous building road” […] it means that we rebuild after we built because the road is too thin […] we built cheaper road […] one side was low quality and another was overloading, the road could not avoid damages. We needed to get this road rebuilt. According to previous calculations, the Chinese company will take up to 48 months to build the road. In reality, the Chinese company did it for 34 months only. Usually, the Chinese friend’s habit is to put a long duration for the project implementation, but when it comes to actions, it takes a shorter period. Thanks to the dedication of a Chinese road and bridge corporation, the construction shortened from 48 months to 34 months stipulated to the contract.

I should point out that this road, in terms of its value, is worth up to US$ 252 million, not US$ 225 million because the contribution is up to 43 million dollars […] even if we deduct 25 million USD as tax, this road is still more than what we projected […]. From now on, our roads building strategy will be more expensive because we do not use the Macadam method anymore. We are building roads in asphalt concrete (AC – Asphalt Concrete) to ensure long-lasting quality […]

To Build NR 41, 33 and 31 … Hope Chinese Friends Help Connect Kampot & Veal Rinh

At the same time, as mentioned by HE Wang Wentian as well as HE Sun Chanthol, we are working towards the groundbreaking for the constructions of National Road 41, National Road No. 33 and National Road No. 31, which are in the area of Kampot province, and which connects with Kampong Speu and Kep. For National Road 3, which connects Kampot to Veal Rinh, is also the subject of a study that I have proposed it a special consideration option. (There is a section of the) National Road No. 3 that does not last. Even digging (foundation) to a depth of 5 meters, the road still does not hold. The Korean built one did not last. The World Bank came and rebuilt it and it did not hold still. According to the new study, that section of the road will have to have its foundation deep down to 18 meters. It will be for a few kilometers. I hope that our Chinese friends will help solve this conundrum or our coastal corridor would be stuck at that place. National Road No. 3 will be the coastal corridor connecting the Kingdom of Thailand to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, starting from Koh Kong, passing through Sihanoukville, and Kampot into Vietnam, which is the only coastal corridor connecting the ASEAN region […]

China Builds 29 Roads of 3,026 Kilometers Long, Nine Bridges of 8,565 Meters Long

The achievements that have been happening in Cambodia comes out of our cooperation with all development partners, especially with the People’s Republic of China. Through His Excellency Wang Wentian, let me express my gratitude to the Chinese government and people of China, who have always provided financial support for our development. So far, China has helped with built roads of more than 3,000 kilometers – 29 roads with a length of 3,026 kilometers, to say in rounded numbers. There are three roads under construction with a length of 363 km, and nine major bridges completed, 8,565 meters in length. The remaining bridge is the one to cross the Bassac River, on the third city ring road – it is 996 meters long and worth 56 million US dollars […]

I always say that we must have savings. For any project at all, grant projects, development- partner financing projects, etc., we must have a contribution budget. Without a contribution budget, we cannot have them happening. For example: National Road 1, a length of about ten Kilometers stretching from the base of the Monivong Bridge, the amount of Japanese money provided for the construction of that road is less than the amount that the Royal Government spent resolving project impacts. Now for the city’s third ring road […] the Royal Government has already released about US$ 60 million already (for the impacts) […]

Expropriation Law Implemented in Public Interest

What happened in the past (regarding people’s settlement along NR) was the fact that the authorities reserve understanding and let them live […] when the time comes to rebuild and enlarge the road, we have to give them money in exchange for them to move out. For some places, such as the junction between National Road 6 and Skun connecting to Siem Reap, there have to be an evacuation of more than 4,000 families. They agreed to move out and accept the compensation. A few families do not agree to move out. If they do not, the only option left is to implement the expropriation law. However, we may not use expropriation law for just about anything. (In order to use such a law) there must be a proper permission to implement the law, should there is a requirement in the public interest for our nation […]

Two Days No Death of COVID-19, Death/Injured of Traffic Accidents Every Day

Today, according to Samdech Krala Hom Sar Kheng’s report, six people died and seven people injured yesterday in traffic accidents. In other words, as we recorded no deaths due to Covid-19 for two days in a row, […] we still have deaths and injuries from traffic accidents every day. […] am calling on our people to wear a helmet (in traveling) and a mask. In one’s personal car, you may not need to wear a helmet, but a mask. Sometimes in a car, you do not need to wear a mask, but if you wear, it is better […] as you know I just got out of quarantine few days ago. I think I had infected but fortunately, I did not.

(I urge our people to) ask for a booster dose. The current booster dose in the chart has just reached seven million people. People must continue to take the third dose. The fourth dose has already injected more than 1 million people […]. We have more than seven million doses of vaccine (in stock) […] and we will import another 8 million doses in the first half of the year to ensure that in our warehouse there are vaccines to be given to people, including children 3 years of age and older, and 5 years of age to receive the stimulus dose […]

Cambodia Supports No Use of Force, Threat of Force from One Side against Another

HE Wang Wentian wished and encouraged Cambodia to take over the rotating chair of ASEAN in 2022. I would like to thank all actors who supported Cambodia as the chair of ASEAN 2022 with constructive encouragement that will enable Cambodia to succeed, with the international community as well as ASEAN partners, in ensuring the success of settling concerned issues. However, chairing ASEAN in 2022 is not easy. One thing is not over, while a new one has happened. As we are pushing for the COC (Code of Conduct) between ASEAN and China forward, (suddenly) the Myanmar issue arises. The issue of Myanmar is not over yet, now there is the issue of Russia and Ukraine, which, although geographically is far away, but required us to show our position.

On that day, I did not know that there was an armed clash in Ukraine. I am in discussions with the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I have made it clear to the Malaysian Prime Minister that Cambodia does not encourage the separation of states, as in the case of Kosovo, Cambodia does not recognize it. Any motivation for separatism, Cambodia does not participate. The Prime Minister of Malaysia, he has his views on neutrality. For me, I still hold the view that war cannot end war. Our position from beginning to end is not to support the use of force or the threat of using force from one side against the other.

This is our official position. This is our desire, as I have delivered at the United Nations, at the Non-Aligned Movement, at the South-South Forum, that we do not encourage or we oppose the use of force or the threat of using force against the parties. Another. At this point, one can understand the vision of Cambodia’s foreign affairs.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict Becomes Europeanized War with Russia

The conflict from Russia’s attack on Ukraine is becoming a Europeanized war with Russia. Why? Initially it was a Russian attack on Ukraine. This is what everyone has seen. However, where has the problem evolved now? European countries have handed over people to help fight in Ukraine, handed over weapons and fighter jets […] if so, the war between Russia and Ukraine is no longer Russia-Ukraine war, but a Russia-Europe war […]

(In a guerrilla warfare, the opponent) force would overstretched thin (while forcing through into the other side). It would be very easy for guerrilla warfare to strike and cut off the moving thin force in many instances. I think Ukraine is using this tactic. As Russia goes deeper, the Russian military force would stretch thinner. Russia cannot move all of its troops from Russia (into Ukraine). The war will last if Russia decides to keep troops in Ukraine. That will extend into a guerrilla war that will bleed both sides every day.

We do not encourage provision of military assistance to any party. That is why it is difficult for us to take a stand. If it were just a matter between Russia and Ukraine, it would be easy for us to take a stand. It has not evolved that way. It has now become an internationalization of war, or possibly Europeanization of war on Ukrainian territory, by allowing citizens to enter the Ukrainian army and providing weapons, including fighter jets […]

In this regard, I am expressing my personal views, not the views of ASEAN. ASEAN has already issued a cautious statement calling for talks. It has not run out of opportunities yet. I still believe in negotiating with mutual assurances. Even yesterday, HE Hor Namhong sent some information regarding the meeting between President Putin and the French President on three conditions for Russia. Thus, the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, according to today’s news, there is going to be a second round of talks. So the two of you can still negotiate.

We encourage dialogue, not using a war to end the war […] even if the president and prime minister flee the country, the people of Ukraine will not agree. The guerrilla war will take place and there will be an unending war. Only dialogue to seek a solution that guarantees mutual benefits (will work). I would like to emphasize that this is not the position of ASEAN. I speak on my own behalf, as Cambodia has learned enough lessons about the war. We have gone through difficulties only to learn that negotiations can solve this problem. I think it is difficult for both China and Cambodia to take a position, and it is difficult for ASEAN to take a position […]

I have already stated from the beginning that Cambodia, in the new international order, we oppose the use of force and the threat of using force against the other side is our position. We encourage dialogue for problem solving. I hope our friends on both sides will understand Cambodia’s position taken in international forums. Please understand our position and refrain from forcing us to go to this or that side. This is the point I want to make in short, because in the next few days there will be more problems. The Security Council has already met and today the UN General Assembly may vote or already voted.

We have been seeing impacts on the world today: rising oil prices, because Russia is also one of the largest oil producers in the world. Now oil prices are rising. This is the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which began to plague the Covid-19 strained world economy, adding by the burden of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Suffering from the Covid-19, Cambodia’s economy may have further impacts from the war (between) Russia and Ukraine and its escalation into a war between Europe and Russia through the provision of arms, aircraft, etc. We have seen the impact on the world as a whole and in particular on Cambodia is rising oil prices and will cause inflation in (some) countries due to higher oil prices.

Posted the Fresh News interview on my Facebook, someone commented that “Samdech! Why do you say a war cannot end another war? What happened in World War II, the United States dropped two (atomic bombs) on Japan to end the war.” I replied that “if this were done, most European countries, including the United States and Russia, would be hit by atomic bombs and would not be able to end the war. Unlike World War II, Japan laid down its arms. This time, if the nukes explode, it is gone. No one would agree to lose. In the past, only the United States had a nuclear weapon. The United States is not the only country that have nuclear weapons.”

Someone came in and said, “Samdech! let the army attack and take back Kampuchea Kraom (the lower Khmer).” I replied – “you may go and beat them yourself.” I almost add another line that “I help prepare you coffins and bury your corpse.” Kampuchea Kraom has disappeared since I was not born or my father has not been born yet […] anyone who is all mighty, may go and I will help make the coffins and bury them. I said that from 1995-1996 […]

We know that the person who made comments are in the opposition and said – “I dare bet with Hun Sen that Ukraine will win this war.” I can sense from the language. I let myself along the current and said – “I understand that too, because one side raise the army from a distance cannot defeat the ones that are inside. I believe not. Cambodia itself has already experienced. The French came and could do nothing. Japan came and could do nothing. The United States came and could do nothing. Vietnam came in to help, but Vietnam had to withdraw. Only the owner of the country is standing in his country” […]

Thus, peace is the special point and the highest priority of the current government policy. If we cannot guarantee peace, no one can talk about development, about democracy and human rights. We must ensure peace to ensure the right to life, to avoid death by arms, from the fear of bullets and bombs. I repeat, I cannot find peace of mind for you […] I can only guarantee peace without armed conflict on this miserable territory. I can unite four armies into one, divided territories into one under one roof, one constitution, one king, one government, and one armed force […]

Our official position for the ASEAN framework or for our delegations at the forums where there are voting involved, we would observe the developmental situation and we will adhere to the principle of not advising any country of what to do. We only reaffirm our position that we do not support the use of force or threaten to use force against any country, and encourage negotiations. Providing food, medicine is not an incentive for war. However, what happened was some sending weapons, so the war will erupt bigger […] thus, the war escalated day by day, from level to level, and it has taken President Putin to alert nuclear deterrent – a major concern after World War II.

This happened in 1962, when the Soviet Union sent nuclear weapons to Cuba, when we heard talks about nuclear, and we hear it again now […]. As a separate Cambodian position, it has nothing to do with China, in my talk with the Prime Minister of Malaysia I made clear that Cambodia encourage no secession and it also means giving support for China. In the same meaning, (Cambodia wishes to see) no separation of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang (from China). It was in this regard that Cambodia does not recognize Kosovo, which used coercive force to secede from Serbia […]./.