Groundbreaking Ceremony Speech for Boeung Choeung Ek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Japan’s Grant Aid [Unofficial Translation]

CNV: 22/02/2022

Three Japanese Aid Projects Inaugurated Within One Month

Today we come together to inaugurate the Choeung Ek Wastewater Treatment Plant, a grant from the Government and people of Japan. As Ambassador HE MIKAMI Masahiro just mentioned, in just over a month, (we have put into operation) three projects […] the first one is the National Road No. 5 segment, which connects Battambang and Banteay Meanchey province. Secondly, last week on February 16, we put into official operations seven bridges – two in Prey Veng (province) and five in Kratie province. Today, we launch the groundbreaking for the construction of a sewer system, a grant from the Japanese government and people.

If I am not mistaken, what happened today is the seventh step I took in launching and inaugurating the (water treatment plants) sites. The first step we did in 2003 and 2004, the site was opened on January 20, 2003, then inaugurated on September 29, 2004 … the second construction site was launched on December 13, 2007 and inaugurated on September 16, 2010. The third step was to launch the construction site on January 16, 2012 and inaugurate on November 5, 2015. The fourth step we launched the construction site on March 4, 2018 […]

Today, we launched another construction site after an agreement signed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance with JICA […] as Ambassador HE MIKAMI Masahiro just made an impression it has not been easy. As the country develops, we had to choose a suitable location to serve the needs for water discharge on the one hand and for issues relating to environment and sanitation on the other. Before we let the wastewater into the Bassac River, we need it to go through treatment system […] we notice that the city of Phnom Penh is full of waste. If not treated properly, or what we called wastewater filtering and treatment before discharging into the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers, there would be consequences for those living along the river. Dirty water can cause diseases in our city too.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Phnom Penh Capital Hall for its efforts in cooperation with JICA and the Embassy of Japan in making this site a reality. As usual, it will not take long to complete the project as planned. I would like to express my appreciation and thanks through HE MIKAMI Masahiro to the Government and people of Japan for their continued assistance to us in almost all areas of our joint efforts, and the groundbreaking ceremony today was part of the fruits of good relations between Cambodia and Japan.

Seventieth Anniversary of Cambodia-Japan Relations and 30th Anniversary of PKO

Next year we will mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan. This year is also the 30th anniversary of the arrival of the Japanese Peacekeepers (PKO), and I have just informed HE MIKAMI Masahiro that I will be in Sihanoukville for three days – (March) 14, 15 and 16. I also told Samdech Tea Banh to organize some programs. I just whispered to HE MIKAMI Masahiro that I needed to invite the Japanese military officers who would be there for a chat and a meal. I am going to get together later, but this is what I remember most from the events of 1992.

In 1991, we signed the Paris Agreement. In 1992, His Excellency Yasushi Akashi, a Japanese who also served as UNTAC President in Cambodia, requested that I travel to Washington, D.C., to mobilize the United States to contribute to the peace process through UNTAC. This was the request of HE Yasushi Akashi, President of UNTAC at that time. When I traveled to the United States via Tokyo. At that time, because he and I had a good relationship, HE Watanabe, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan welcomed me to discuss the issue with him before I left for Washington. (That meeting) led to a discussion about Japan’s contribution, which exceeded the share that Japan should cover […] Japan has spent on peacekeeping operations in Cambodia more than its obligatory share. That is the first thing (that meeting had discussed).

The second thing (that we discussed) was issues related to the first deployment of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (as Peacekeeping Operation or PKO) to help maintain peace through the Paris Agreement and under the auspices of the United Nations called UNTAC. I have supported this initiative. I once said that the Shimbun Akahata, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Japan, went to Washington to ask me about this matter. Arriving at Pochentong, Cambodia, I gave a press conference. Unexpectedly, the Akahata newspaper reporter was there and asked why you support the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to come to Cambodia? It is really a memorable thing.

Thirty years have passed. Cambodia will celebrate this anniversary when the Japanese navy will arrive in Cambodian ports in March. I will go to Sihanoukville to visit the Japanese army officers and would invite some officers along with the ambassador to have a chat and we had a meal together as part of the 30th anniversary of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces coming to Cambodia. We will mark the sacrifices of the Japanese army and police on Cambodian territory, and proceed to celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Cambodia’s Progress Inseparable from Japan’s Supports

As I mentioned in my speech in Kratie province on February 16, Cambodia’s progress is inseparable from the contribution of our development partners, in general and in particular, from the supports of Japan. Japan served as the co-chair of the reconstruction of Cambodia, known as the ICORC meeting at the time. The meetings took turn between Tokyo and Paris. In Paris, there were only two meetings, and in Japan, there were about three meetings. The first meeting was in 1992. At the time, discussions were under way on implementing the Paris Peace Agreement, but we also hit on issues related to reconstruction. I still remember the last ICORC meeting was in 1996, because it was at a time that I had to leave Tokyo for Seoul, a visit to establish the first diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea, South Korea.

Consecutively, annual meeting between Cambodia, donors, and development partners, in which the World Bank took over the role, went on. This is where Cambodia always remembers the contribution of all development partners, as well as international financial institutions, in large part also came from the support from Japan in the first phase, the largest donor in that circumstance. Now our relationship is deep rooting and our cooperation is bigger day by day. We are not just waiting for help from Japan, what is important is that we try to attract Japanese investors to the Kingdom of Cambodia […]

Sihanoukville Blue Water Port, Japan’s Assistance, Why a Debt to Chinese Trap?

The Japanese government has been helping and offering supports to the Sihanoukville blue water port. On this remark, I do not think it is true that some talked comparing the Sihanoukville falling into the Chinese debt trap as what happened in Sri Lanka. The deep-sea port that is busy assisting Cambodia’s trades today has been receiving loans and assistance from Japan instead. Well, I am asking some analysts who do not understand the truth to stop misleading the situation. The port, which is currently serving imports and exports purpose, has been receiving assistance and administering its construction from Japan. Japan also bought some shares in it. Why they analyzed that the port can become a Chinese debt trap. It was Japanese assistance, why it would become a Chinese debt trap. This is a slander. We do not know what to comparison them to […]

We welcome all of our development partners who wanted to help us. Well, as in the case of Japan, the Asian highway connecting Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok, via Phnom Penh, Japan covers about 90% of the road and bridge, from the Cambodian-Vietnamese border to the Neak Leung Bridge. Take National Road No. 1 and continue on National Road No. 5 from Prek Kadam to the Cambodian-Thai border. This is where the importance is and we needed to see […] that (is the fruit of) former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan and I raised at the level of strategic partnership. Through this trust, we are able to exchange delegations with each other to boost our cooperation.

Japanese Leaders Welcome Cambodian Army Commander

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ambassador, the Prime Minister Kishida, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, the Commander-in-Chief, as well as other Commanders the Army and the units of the Japanese forces for welcoming the Cambodian Army Commander. It is a rare event, frankly. If I were the Prime Minister of Japan, I would not have been able to do it. Why not? To be the Prime Minister of Cambodia, I could make time for a walk and a golf. Being the Prime Minister of Japan, one would not have a chance to do all that. Remember, HE Mori resigned at that time. There was a submarine hitting ship incident […] with students doing internship in Hawaii. At that time, HE Mori was playing golf. He played golf at night. They demanded he resign […]

The Cambodian Army Commander had had an audience with the Prime Minister of Japan. This is a special point in our relationship that I mentioned the day before and Hun Manet has already met with three Japanese Prime Ministers. In 2010, he met HE Yukio Hatoyama. In 2018, he met with HE Shinzo Abe. In 2022, he met with Fumio Kishida, Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Speaker of the National Assembly. Visiting Japan is not easy to meet with the Prime Minister of Japan because his very busy schedules. That this time he made it, it demonstrates our cooperation in exchanging delegations, and we will do the same with each other in our relations […]

Adhere to Hygiene and Proper Garbage Disposal

I should take this opportunity to speak to the people of Phnom Penh. Our Phnom Penh city in the 1960s did not have any headaches for garbage or dirty water. Let me remind you that I started with only 16 kilos ration of 10 kg of rice and 6 kg of corn. That we were not full, we had to pick off bananas because Pol Pot planted bananas in Phnom Penh. We go to fetch water from the Mekong River to use. The situation at that time was doing anything we could to be able to live on and no attention paid so much on hygiene. We just ate what we could find. There was no garbage to transport for that matter because there was no food. Nowadays, unlike before, the daily garbage is about 3,000 tons. Eating is inevitable and we now have to exercise proper hygiene and food safety standard.

What worries us is that our people do not have the habit of cleaning up and/or collecting garbage. How could people working in garbage collection clean them all […] if people throw wastes out of trash bins? They would not place the trash in the bin, even though it was close by […] I am appealing to the people who live in Phnom Penh or come to visit Phnom Penh, to exercise hygiene. This sanitation practice is for all of us […] (we must work together) to prevent plastic bags or rubbish from accumulating, flowing into rivers, into lakes, into sewers. Let us work together for our clean city […]

Anyone with Evil Deeds Destroying CPP and People – Not Supported

Let me be clear, now I am the Prime Minister. Soon I will be the father of Prime Minister. I have set a rule for my grandchildren that 20 years later they must run for the post of prime minister. Then I will be the grandfather of the Prime Minister. Why children of other people can do it and […] my children, who have had such education cannot? Let me be clear, if they performed evil actions/deeds, I cannot support them. I cannot let the CPP in destructive position because of them (in that case). I will not let the people be destroyed by my children. For other people’s children, whether those belonged to the opposition, I have never blamed or humiliated anyone. Although they blamed my son for honorary degrees at West Point, […] at the University of New York, […] at Bristol, […] I praised their children. They may strike at me. I think you were wrong, let me tell you […]

You accuse my wife of being the wife of the Vietnamese leader. My child is the child of the Vietnamese leader. If I do not react, I am not human. I told the leaders of some countries that I could not accept it, whatever consequences it may be. If you do not compensate me, even the next life, there will be a fight. I cannot accept such insults. My wife and children are very unfortunate. Before we could meet each other again, I had no idea if my children and my wife were dead or alive […] I have already scheduled a posting on the morning of the 24th (February). I will narrate in it. I will write in short, not long. They are things that people never hear or see on my Facebook. Posting will be at 7am on the 24th (February). It is about the 43rd anniversary of the reunion between my wife and me.

“Gourds Drown, Shards Float”

You must remember your insult (on me). This point, I am seeking all foreign friends’ understanding. Hun Sen does not put up with such insults. I could have called the Khmer Rouge to eat at my house, but I could not accept this insult on me. Let me be specific. If s/he wanted to resume military action, I dare to do it. This is not very common. It was incomprehensible that while we were in contact with (each other), my child asked on that matter. Suddenly, he replied – “the athlete, as long as s/he could find an unshielded space, s/he kicks” […] I just confirmed this point. If my child – with that much education and training – he should have a right like children of other people […]

I should also take up this topic – the word “the gourd is drowning, the shards is floating.” What happened now? In the past, we were all called shards. They used to compare the rich or the former intellectuals as gourds (that float in water) and we are shards (that drown). That we have been in power for 43 years, we are gourds or shards. Speak clearly. Those who had been rich in past was for less than 20 years […] now, those considered as shards have been in power for more than 40 years. During these 40 years, he has been the Prime Minister for more than 37 years. So, am I still a shards? […]

No matter who, Khmer or foreigners, do not mobilize me to unite with the group that insults my wife and children. If you bring that matter up, I would only listen to you and say good bye […] because I cannot (forgive) it. As fathers/husbands, we cannot accept the insult that our wives are the wives of others, and our children are the children of others and of other races. I am worse than animals if I talk to those kind of people. Previously, when you did not do that, I am still talking to you. Now that you have done this, it means the situation is over. It is “too late”. You may wait to topple (me). Please do. What happened to your coming to arrest Hun Sen. When will you catch me? […] (The person wished the) people and army to arrest Hun Sen while he is in control and sharing life with people […]

After a Month and a Half, Men Died of Covid-19

I should appeal to the people of Phnom Penh to continue the fight with the new Covid-19 variant – Omicron, because of which, today the number of infections has gone back up to 598 people. Two more people died. For three days in a row, we have had deaths […] for almost a month and a half (ago) we have not had any deaths by Covid-19 […], let us not be misunderstanding that Omicron infection leads to no death. Of course, the infection in Cambodia now disappears for Alpha/Delta, and we now have only Omicron infection. When our body is weak, it can lead to severeness. Therefore, I would like to call on our people to continue to adhere to the “3 Dos, 3 Don’ts’” measures […]

Tomorrow is the start of vaccination for kids from three to five years olds. Parents must bring their children/grandchildren for vaccinations at places organized by the health department and local authorities to immunize them as Omicron begins to attack children. Of those infected, more than 20 percent are children under the age of five, which is alarming […] I hear whispers in some markets, though not much yet, that there will be a lockdown of Phnom Penh again. Let me be clear, I decided to lock down Phnom Penh and Takhmao last year at a difficult time because people have not had vaccinated. Now that we do, we do not have requirements to lock down cities or destinations […]

We have had vaccination and any infection would not lead to serious condition, having said that, we cannot rely on the vaccine alone. There must be a combination of both – vaccination and preventive measure. Let me confirm to those who whisper about possible lockdown of the city or country that as the Prime Minister with full authority to order the closure or opening, I do not implement the lockdown measures. People do not have to hurry shopping and stocking […]

To Drug Sellers – No Price Jack Up and No Fake Medicines

We place an appeal to all pharmacists. We need to increase the capacity of the supply of drugs, but please pay attention to two points about the drug problem. Firstly, please do not jack up the price of medicine as ones wanted. We now see that people with ability to buy their own medicine (for Covid-19) are queuing in lines. If you are in the hospital, it is okay that the doctors/physicians will take care of you. If some do not want to go to the hospital, they buy medicine (themselves). In this case, licensed pharmacies should not raise the price at will. Secondly, the health department must check whether the medicine is pure or not, because this counterfeit is very common. There are even fake alcohol and sanitizing gel […]

Thank you Japanese government for supporting visit to Myanmar

I thank His Excellency Mikami Masahiro as well as the Government of Japan for continuing to support my visit to ease situation in Myanmar. I thank you and I will work with other partners in ASEAN and with the Japanese side, which has experience with the situation in Myanmar, to find ways to help Myanmar overcome this difficult situation, especially to prevent further deaths due to violence. We must find a way to ascertain that assistance reach the people of Myanmar who are in real need. Our goal is to try to prevent the situation in Myanmar from escalating into violence, and in case of violence, reduce it to a minimum. At the same time, the people of Myanmar are in need of assistance, including those assistance to prevent Covid-19. There is a lot of complicated work and I have been encouraged by my Japanese friends as well as other ASEAN partners.

Three Goals of Myanmar’s Visits

I went to Myanmar with three goals – the first one is to stop the violence, including the ceasefire, which is in the first point of the five-point consensus. The five points of consensus are about patience, and we start talking from there. The second one is how to have a coordination mechanism to provide assistance for the people of Myanmar in need. Thirdly, encourage dialogue between all stakeholders. This is the goals of my visit to Myanmar, and anyway, is not the case to go back in the morning and return in the evening (with fruitful results). Some seemed intentional that when I came back, it was fruitful. Myanmar was already a country of 70 years under military rule.

Some cursed the UN special envoy (who he’s) talked about the division of power. On that note, an intention appears to aim for complete elimination of Myanmar’s military force. You may ask yourself would that be possible. If it is what you wanted to do, it is not different from hitting one’s head against the wall […] In addition, Myanmar’s constitution, adopted in 2008, already divides power for the military. Twenty five percent of the members of the National Assembly appointed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The Commander-in-Chief has the right to appoint one Vice President, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Border Affairs. The military power has had its stipulation in the Constitution.

While the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy talked about the division of power and (the share that belongs to) the military, some people have insulted him. In this remark, some extremist groups might emerge and this group could be a warlord. I have an understanding considered sufficient to understand the peace process in Cambodia. I do not know how many times I had conducted negotiations. I do not believe that a war would end the war. There is only political solution that will […]

ASEAN Special Envoy to Carry Out Mandate Assigned by ASEAN Chair

Negotiation is not easy. The most difficult thing is the military aspect. How many disbanded troops, how to disarm, it is not a joke. Some wanted that to chair ASEAN for 12 months, I solved the problem of Myanmar. While I am working hard to achieve it, some distracted me for being wrong. No matter what you say, I will not give up my efforts as one of the ten members of ASEAN on Myanmar. As the current chair of ASEAN, we will continue our efforts to urge the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair to Myanmar to carry out their duties in accordance with the mandate assigned by the ASEAN Chair.

I thank our Japanese friends for supporting this process. Only those who understand the situation can (know) how to solve the problem. Those who do not understand think that going there in the morning and returning in the evening (with results) would not go anywhere. That is not what you can find. I have already said that it is not a one-time negotiation. It is necessary to negotiate many times, with both issues on the table and under the table. Some think it is too simple. Some even husband and wife could not talk to each other and even divorced have come to discipline me to solve the Myanmar problem as soon as possible […]

According to the first study in Thailand, Omicron could become an antibody to protect us from Covid-19. In my house, five of my grandchildren and one of my child was Covid-19 positive […] now the 21st grandson is fine. The two granddaughters have recovered, while three grandsons and their mother are still positive. The mother was busy going to wedding party and brought Omicron back home. They have infected one by one […]./.