Selected Speech Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Inauguration of 7 Bridges (2 Bridges in Prey Veng and 5 bridges in Kratie) – Grants from the Government and People of Japan [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV: 16/02/2022

Bailey Bridges in Kratie & Prey Veng Turn Concrete with Japanese Grant Aid

Today, we are really happy to come together to inaugurate 7 bridges, 2 in Prey Veng along National Road 11 and 5 in Kratie along National Road 73. More than a month ago, HE Mikami Masahiro and I, as well as JICA representatives, traveled together to inaugurate a section of National Road 5 in northwestern Cambodia, connecting between Battambang and Banteay Meanchey. A month later, HE Mikami and I, as well as JICA representatives and Japanese friends, came here again to inaugurate the bridge. Speaking of Kratie province, last week, on the 7th of February, I presided over the inauguration of National Road 7, a gift from the People’s Republic of China […]

I still remember that I came for the construction and inauguration of the former Bailey bridge in the flood season of 2001, built by the Ministry of Defense Engineering Corps, led by General Kong Ieng. It was 21 years ago that we had that much resource ability, according to our economic situation at that time, to build such Bailey bridges. The bigger problem was then there were repeated flood hits that damaged them. It is our good fortune to have the attention of Japanese friends, who has been giving us the funds to rebuild these bridges, turning them from steel to concrete bridges. There has a song titled “Spean Peam Te” or the Peam Te Bridge, which the former bridge is no longer here but replaced by a concrete bridge, a grant from the Japanese government through JICA […]

Fruits of the Cambodia-Japan Strategic Partnership

In the past, we used to have only 4.2 meters width bridges. Now we have replaced them with this strong bridge, which, if there is no overloading, will not collapse for dozens or a hundred years. Of course, this bridge is difficult to build when floods occur seasonally and flow with strong currents in and out of this place. When I came to connect the bridge, it was also at high tide that they had to use ferry to lift the Bailey parts to high ground. This is a fruitful achievement in the relationship between Cambodia and Japan, which we have already promoted to the level of strategic partnership.

Japan has helped us in our quest for peace and in the restoration of our country. (The Japanese assistance has) so far reached a total budget of over 1.4 billion US dollars. (We have projects that are) underway and the construction two major bridges – the Mekong River bridge Kizuna in Kampong Cham and Tsubasa Bridge in Neak Leung. In both transport and connectivity infrastructure, and other sectors, Japan has helped us a lot. I have put in my schedules already the opening of a construction site for additional water purification in Phnom Penh […]

At the moment, HE Mikami said, “wherever I go, I must honor the inauguration.” In fact, that is what we do. I begged (from everyone) that some have denigrated my government as a beggar one. I begged but I did not beg to finish (building) my kitchen. I asked to build bridges, roads, canals, schools, hospitals and other things to serve my people. The works that we have done so far played a critical role in Cambodia’s progress and it is inseparable from the supports of all development partners, in general, and Japan in particular. I would like to take this opportunity, through the Ambassador of Japan, through the JICA representative here, to thank the Government of Japan for funding the construction of these seven bridges, five in Kratie and two in Prey Veng making together a great connectivity infrastructure network.

I should remind you that the construction of National Road 73 inspired by (former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance) HE Keat Chhon because he is a native of Chhlong district. He understands the geography of Chhlong district […] people can travel to Kratie province quickly via National Road 73, which connects from Dambe district to Chhlong and from Chhlong to Kratie provincial town […]

69th Cambodia-Japan Friendship Anniversary; 30th Peacekeeping Anniversary of Japanese Self-Defense Forces

What we have achieved is a part of the good relations between Cambodia and Japan that I, along with the Japanese leaders, especially former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have pushed for this relationship to become a strategic partnership between the two countries. This year marks the 69th anniversary of Cambodia-Japan relations and the 30th anniversary of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces involving in maintaining peace operation for the first time, and it was in Cambodia. That is why this year we have exchanged visits. I have already noted in my schedules to receive the Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister to Cambodia. Sometimes on that same day the ASEAN Police Commissioner General also comes to the meeting […] I will receive the Police Commissioner General of ASEAN countries, […] then I will receive and have a discussion with the Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister […]

Thanks for Welcoming and Appreciating the Cambodian Army Commander’s Visit

There is now a visit by a Cambodian army commander to Japan. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation for the Japanese gesture to the Cambodian army commander, or to put it another way, to my son. As we are in the situation of Covid-19, the journey to and from in the world is difficult. However, Japan sent a special plane to take Manet and the delegation to Japan. Tomorrow, Manet may return to Cambodia. Another special point impressed me is that upon his arrival, the Japanese Foreign Minister granted him a meeting and discussion. Yesterday, there was a meeting with the Army Commander-in-Chief and the Minister of Defense. This morning, as my son told me, maybe this time the meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida is over because I heard that the meeting at 10:30 this morning … So I really thank you for the gesture in communication with the Cambodian Army Commander, who is my son.

Remarkably, Manet has already met with three Japanese prime ministers. That means three Japanese prime ministers have given Manet honor. The first was in 2010, by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, when the opposition won a short term. Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama invited and received him in Japan. In 2016, at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, HE Shinzo Abe invited Manet again. In 2018, the visit happened and HE Shinzo Abe granted him a meeting. This time, the visit in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief, but was welcomed to pay a courtesy call on the Prime Minister. This can be one of the features of diplomacy in the relationship between the two countries.

I would like to express my gratitude for the attention paid to the relationship between the two countries and I agree on what the two countries are preparing for future military cooperation, including joint exercises, if need be. Exercise in Cambodia is not a problem, but what I wanted is that any such exercise should focus firstly prevention or disaster relief, and secondly, counter-terrorism. That would be the kind of exercise I would like to see happen. Any exercise about combatting I do not want it. Counter-terrorism drills really have to fight with terrorists. Exercises I would like to do is disaster relief, for example, in time of floods, droughts, wildfires, plane crashes, etc. That is something we will continue to discuss in moving forward in strengthening our strategic partnership.

Thank Japan for Supporting My Visit to Myanmar

[…] Back to Phnom Penh this evening, I will receive two Foreign Ministers […] the first is the Foreign Minister of Singapore, and the second is the Foreign Minister of Laos. They are here for a working visit and taking chance to call on me. I would like to thank my Japanese friends for their continued support of my visit to Myanmar. This is a specific political message about how to seek for a solution that prevent human death/casualties or the worsening situation in Myanmar. Despite the different voices, Japan has maintained its position from the beginning in support of my visit to Myanmar, which is (is undoubtedly a) part (of ASEAN) efforts. I appreciate the similar approach in problem solving. This is a point that our Japanese friends see similarly with us in line with the evolving situation. It is not possible to put an ox in front of a yoke on a cart. A solution that puts the ox in front of the (yoke) of the cart is not going to work. I wanted to leave to job to my friends in ASEAN to handle. I also do not want to comment. However, I also have some experience dealing with this kind of problem. Either too hard or too soft would not work. We needed to find a middle ground.

Attending Meeting on Peace Process on Korean Peninsula

I just returned from the Republic of Korea on Sunday night. I just wanted to clarify a little bit about what some said concerning the status of this Peace Prize. His Excellency Sun Chanthol has just mentioned that it belongs to the Republic of Korea. Not at all. The venue for the bestowment is in Korea. It is a Prize named after Sunhak, the UPF (Universal Peace Federation) co-founder of the Global Peace Union. The Chairman of the nomination committee for the award is the former Prime Minister of Portugal, who was also the former President of the European Commission […] there are several members of the commissions and the Chairman of which is the former Prime Minister of Portugal and the former Chairman of the European Commission.

Some people say I spend money buying it. Oh God. I do not need to wear a medal […]. On the other hand, they are not for sale. They have seen the value of our efforts to find peace in Cambodia. The UPF invites (me) to co-chair the Summit on the Korean Peninsula. Another co-chair is Ban Ki-moon (former Secretary General of the United Nations) with the founding members of the UPF. Invitations for participating countries co-signed by Ban Ki-moon and me. There are 157 participating countries. Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe send in his message, while the United States’ former President Donald Trump made online participation. Those in attendance were former US Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Michael Richard Pompeo and former Speaker of the US Congress […]

My trip to Korea was for the meeting on the Korean Peninsula, with a Seoul statement related to the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, and I had a chance to present to the meeting my concept of “two states, one nation,” and the fact that what will be on the way to a one nation country. We also put forward a number of proposals, for example: the use of demilitarized zones as a means for people-to-people contacts in the fields of culture, arts, sports, or anything else we want to contribute to peace in the region. The Korean Peninsula issue is becoming a hotspot […]

In 10 Months and 14 Days, ASEAN Rotating Chair Cambodia Abandons No Efforts

Turning to ASEAN, we also have a problem that we must continue to resolve peacefully. It has no other choice. Hitting on this issue, there might be some making cursing comments on me again […] I have no political interest and I wanted no political influence. Cambodia is very small country compared to Myanmar […] thus, (efforts to find detente in Myanmar) is in a state of getting a blame for whatever one chooses to – do it or do not do it. The thing would be if they do not want us to do it, we would just relax. If you put an ox in front of a yoke, how could the cart be pulled? Let me remind that there are only 10 months and 14 days left, and the task is over.

Let us wait for the next ASEAN Chair to do it […] however, (as ASEAN Chair) we do not give up the effort. At some point, they will understand what needed to do to achieve solution. Originally, (in Cambodian experience) who recognized my government? However, they had to work with me. The other day, sadly, I sent a message of condolence to former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu. His Excellency Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, he received me. I went to a meeting in Japan to sign the (establishment of) SNC in Tokyo. All ASEAN countries need to work with me. If not with the person in power, whom do you work with? Doing so does not mean giving recognition, but we must be working together.

Some people blamed out efforts with their jargon like “cowboy diplomacy.” I want to understand what the word cowboy diplomacy means. Can you explain to me a little bit? By the time I got to Nay Pyi Taw, the situation did not change. After I left Nay Pyi Taw, has the situation changed? It has not. It is still like what it was. For a practical example, Thailand, when Chatichai Choonhavan elected Prime Minister, he invited me to visit Bangkok in January 1989. “Let us turn Indochina from a battlefield into a market,” he said. So, the flames of war in Cambodia had to extinguish. That does not mean he recognized our government. However, people and people needed to talk to each other. That led to the end of the war in Cambodia.

Yamaguchi Ichiro and Japanese (Artificial) Eyes

I still remember […] former Foreign Minister, HE Hiroshi Mitsuzuka. In 1989, when the Paris Conference began, he was Foreign Minister for about one month before Taro Nakayama took over with (Prime Minister) Toshiki Kaifu. Later, under Hashimoto Ryutaro, he became Minister of Economy. At that time, in the meeting, the Japanese Foreign Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka sat looking at me. He was the first Japanese Minister to shake hands with me. When I went there, they did not pay much attention to me, but still he shook my hand. Later, in 1990, I went to Japan for a medical checkup. He then visited me at the hospital. I asked him directly, “I wanted to ask you a little bit. Why at the Paris Conference His Excellency sat looking at me.” Later, we met at a party at Quai d’Orsay, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said that in the past, Japan had had division. There was a young Japanese man who had the courage to unite Japan. He thinks that the young Japanese man who used to unite Japan resurrected as Hun Sen in Cambodia. A Japanese doctor with former Japanese Foreign Minister Mitsuzuka gave me a Japanese name, Yamaguchi Ichiro and I put on a Japanese artificial eyeball (ocular prosthesis). Thus, some said that Mr. Hun Sen has a long-term vision from the eyes of Japan. No one would want to damage his/her eyes […]

Would Seeking to Get Rid of Myanmar Army a National Reconciliation?

I am still thankful that Japan continues to support my visit to Myanmar, while some have commented that it was a cowboy diplomacy. Let me ask you a question, would it cause any deaths? How many died because of my visit? The quest for peace in the morning does not come back with result in the evening. Remember, I give my calculation that judging from what some wanted to do, (the efforts to seek peace for Myanmar would take) another 5 or 10 years. I speak on behalf of Cambodia, not on behalf of the ASEAN chair. Please do not bind me to the ASEAN chair. Hun Sen’s vision is clear that if this continues for another 5-10 years, we may not see the light of peace in Myanmar … they attacked the ASEAN chairman and they also do the same to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for her comment about separation of powers. That means those commentators are seeking the complete overthrow of the Myanmar military. Is this a point of national unity or a point of complete destruction of the structure of the Myanmar army? Would the (military) be willing to accept? Even if all they have are teeth, it is difficult to get them out. You have to wait and see. I say it from Kratie, if you continue to do just that […]

(If) the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General cannot do the job, what may happen is that Myanmar continue to have people losing their lives from shooting and/or starvation, which will become a humanitarian crisis in the future. What can we do? (If) we remain silent, (they say) this ASEAN chair is not active. So, how to do it? Doing it the same way does not get a breakthrough. Well, I do not reply to anyone. I just explain some of the issues. It is not certain that a poor country has a weak vision and it is not certain that a rich country has a strong vision. Some have not yet found peace in their own countries. Let me reiterate, I am able to find peace only by not fighting, but I cannot afford to ensure peace of mind […]

Political Parties to Contest in Commune Council Elections

I would also like to take this opportunity to call on all provinces and capitals, as well as all the bases of our country, to create conditions for political parties to take actions. With only a few months left, an election will come. Therefore, for political parties legally registered by the Ministry of Interior, we needed to create conditions for them to have the opportunity to act. The election campaign has not yet arrived, but they must have the opportunity to meet their members […] the ability to apply for a permit to raise a poster and the local authorities must provide them with favorable conditions. Not only the ruling party who has the right to raise their posters. Other parties have the same rights as us. For public places where we can meet, other parties can too […]

Meeting with Mention-A Students and TYDA Medical Volunteers Canceled

We must continue our efforts (to prevent and prevent Covid-19). I decided to cancel two meetings, which I said the day before that the provinces should be ready to send Mention-A students to Phnom Penh. (Judging by the increase of Omicron infection, we) cannot risk doing so. Let us postpone. Now the iPad (gift) has arrived. When the situation improves, we can reorganize online meeting for those of you in provinces, while those in Phnom Penh can participate in person […] and I just give what I have to give to those grandchildren to the provinces. Another meeting with the TYDA medical volunteers, which was to be held on the 18th, was also canceled because the meeting at this time was not appropriate […]

Booster Doses Injection to Accelerate

We must continue to fight with Covid-19, and I urge people to get their booster doses. I look at the vaccination rate, the booster doses seemed to be slow […] of the more than 14 million people vaccinated, we have jabbed over 6 million with third booster doses. Another 8 million people have not yet gone for vaccination. As for the fourth booster doses, we have just vaccinated 600,000 people at the forefront with risk […] Manet and his wife prepare system to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the Royal Palace, […] especially Hun Manet, prepared a number of layers of prevention so as Covid-19 could not get to His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Queen Mother […]./.