Selected Speech Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Inauguration Speech of National Road No. 7, a length of 93.64 km from the Tiger Roundabout to Romeat Commune, Kratie Province [Unofficial Translation]

103

CNV: 07/02/2022

China Helps with Connectivity to/in the Northeast

Today, I am pleased to work with the Chinese Ambassador His Excellency Wang Wintian, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Ladies and Gentlemen, and compatriots to inaugurate National Road No. 7, a length of 93 km long from the Tiger Roundabout to Romeat commune, Kratie province. A moment ago, His Excellency Wang Wintian talked about the Year of the Tiger, and we came to the place of the Tiger. Of course, the Chinese or Vietnamese year has already entered the Karl (Tiger) year. People who have a tradition of following the Chinese New Year tradition usually divide the year in February, and they just entered the New Year. Cambodia divides the year in April, mostly on the 13th or 14th, the New Year angel will come down to replace the old year angel. I do not know what year to celebrate this year, but for me, born on the year of dragon, there does not seem to have any bad luck with any zodiac […]

I am very happy to be back in Kratie today with the inauguration of a new achievement, about which Senior Minister Sun Chanthol just reported and reminded us of the issues related to aid (of the People’s Republic of China). […] I clearly remember. I would also like to take this opportunity to state my intentions at the time. In 2004, when Cambodia was in political deadlock, China did not wait for the formation of a new government. This is an important point in our relationship. Everyone can remember that after the 2003 election, the political stalemate (occurred) due to the boycott by some political parties and lasted for almost a year before the government was able to form. At that time, the CPP had only 73 seats, and our constitutional system (required) (two-thirds of the seats in parliament) or 82 votes to form a government.

Some countries have pursued a wait-and-see attitude, but the People’s Republic of China did not wait. Initially, the Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi visited the Kingdom of Cambodia. A month later, invited by His Excellency Wen Jiabao as Prime Minister and His Excellency Hu Jintao as President of the PRC, I paid an official visit to the People’s Republic of China without waiting for the formation of a new government. This – as I remember it – I was calling on our Chinese friends to help with connectivity to/in the Northeast.

Turning the Northeast into a Fourth Economic Pole

In terms of connection to/in the Northeast […] (the) focus has been on Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri and the other part is to Preah Vihear. One can see that the roads that connect those provinces the Northeast region are mostly grants and loans from the People’s Republic of China […] from Kratie province to the border of Laos and then Stung Treng to Preah Vihear via National Road No. 9 and National Road No. 62.

Why did I do that? Our past has been difficult for people of our northeastern region. Indeed, there was a song “Rumduol Kratie” (a flower of Kratie) that says it is not far between Kratie and Phnom Penh (for the flower). Yesterday, this song was also re-written by Mr. Him Sophea entitled “Kratie and Phnom Penh is not far anymore,” broadcast last night on various TVs […] I have traveled to these provinces […]

On the other hand, I aim to ensure that Cambodia has up to four (economic) poles after we have established the three poles. The first economic pole is Phnom Penh. The second economic pole is Sihanoukville. The third economic pole is Siem Reap. I wanted to turn this northeast area into the fourth economic pole as we have potentials of agro-industry and mineral resources. It was with this intention that, at that time, I had a request to connect Kratie and Stung Treng as a preliminary step.

Chinese Grants to Cambodia on a World Largest Scale

The (Chinese) grant at that time as HE Wang Wintian confirmed was not only China’s large-scale grant for Cambodia, but also the largest grant for the world. I still remember that (while learning about) Cambodia’s concern related to dealing with landmines and unexploded ordnance, since we were so poor that we could not even pay our civil servants […] Premier Wen Jiabao, chairing a meeting in Yunnan, decided to provide an additional US$ 600,000 for demining along the road to Stung Treng province.

I still remember that time Cambodia miscalculated (its progress speed). Major international institutions, as well as some countries, have misjudged Cambodia’s rapid progress. The Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, Japan and China made evaluations and built Cambodia small roads as they used to. Even the Japanese National Road 6A, the reconstruction kept it at only 7 meters wide. We have expanded it from initially7 to 8 meters, to wider width due to the increase in traffic. The flood destroyed us. Overloaded trucks damaged the road further. We asked the Chinese friends to help us again.

Today, we inaugurated this road as part of the Chinese friend’s assistance for connectivity in the northeast, funded by the People’s Republic of China. Cambodia has gradually established an economic pole in its own country. Here, connected to the development triangle are provinces are provinces of Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri. We also look beyond Preah Vihear, where we have connected a bridge across the Mekong River, and National Road 9 is now connecting Stung Treng to Preah Vihear province.

The Journey of 6,000 Km Assess Post-War Situation and Peace/Development Era

I have traveled 6,000 kilometers … all by land. I wanted to know where the fighting took place in the past and wished to see with my own eyes how it is now. In 2016, I traveled to many provinces to visit former battlefields so that I could assess the situation of war-torn countries, the post-war situation, and the status of a peaceful and developed country. Traveling 6,000 kilometers at that time, I deployed many schools. In Kratie there has a (school buildings) of many floors in the provincial capital. I should emphasize a bit on socio-economic development. I observed from a helicopter while I was traveling and saw that Kratie land is rich in rubber along with other industrial crops that are part of the Cambodian economy. All provinces are in development.

Northeastern Crops Exported as Raw Materials and Processed

I should say that the gold produced in Mondulkiri for more than seven months was 1751 kg. Today there will be a report. In general, we produce almost 100 kg per week, maybe 80 to 100 kg. It has been increasing. That is why I am targeting the economic poles in the northeast, with agro-industry and mineral resources in mind. We have not done all the research yet, but we still have bauxite, coal, and more gold mines. We have not used them yet. We just started producing gold in the last seven months. So far, gold has not turned into the pure gold (of 24 carats) yet […] I looked at the message sent to me on WhatsApp by the Minister of Mines and Energy […]

Usually on Mondays and Fridays there are reports of the amount of gold produced. When we produce gold nuggets, some are 20 kilograms, some are 30 kilograms, and some are more than 10 kilograms, we send them to purify in Australia. Now we have crops in these provinces, although we do not have enough processing, but rubber, cashew, pepper and other crops exported as raw materials and as finished products.

“Political and Administrative Integration Is not Sufficient”

I am happy about what we have envisioned after we achieved peace. I have made it clear to my colleagues in government that it would not be sufficient to have political and administrative integration only. There must be physical integration. That means to have connectivity. This means that Cambodians throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia enjoy the same development. It is in this regard that people can see many roads built, except we still have a small gap between Koh Kong province, passing through Pursat province to connect with Samlot of Battambang province […]

If we just say the country is united but left in a void, what can people depend on? … I used to travel from Ratanakkiri to Stung Treng. At that time, in 1990, the negotiation process was in full swing, and in the country, I also had work to do. I went to Mondulkiri by helicopter. I (went up) to Ratanakkiri. At that time, my entourage asked me not to travel by land at all because Pol Pot could have ambushed the convoy. I said – “anyone who is afraid can go back to Phnom Penh. Let me go my way.” All right, they all came with me. In Ratanakkiri, we stopped and ate at about 3 pm at Sre Pok Bridge and traveled to Stung Treng. I want to travel from Stung Treng down by land, but they say the road was in cuts. Anyway, because of work in Phnom Penh and the father’s surgery at Calmette Hospital, I hurried back to Phnom Penh.

To Meet High School Students with Mention “A” on February 28

The situation is not the same as before. We have now built roads, hospitals and schools […] there are up to 45 high school graduates with mention “A” (in the high school diploma or Baccalaureate exam) in Kratie province. I am thinking with His Excellency Hang Chuon Naron at first to meet with A-mention graduates only from Kandal and Phnom Penh in Phnom Penh, while students in the provinces had to follow online. However, I think that both the governors who sponsored the A-Mention graduates and the (CPP) provincial working teams, the students and the parents wanted to go to Phnom Penh. With 1,800 graduates and their families, I think we can arrange to receive them in Phnom Penh. Although Omicron seemed to have make increasing presence in Phnom Penh, I think we can still do it. I set the 28th (of February) for that […]

Without Electricity, Clean Water, Schools/Hospitals, Urban and Rural Gaps Are There

Now look at the statistics of Kratie, which has five districts, there is 1 university and 12 high schools. This means that, on average, there are 2 high schools, and 43 secondary schools in each district, while the province has 43 communes. That means at least one secondary (for each commune). For the time to come there would be 2 to 3 (secondary schools) in small/large communes. There are 286 primary schools, while we have 295 villages. Some villages are still not registered, but some villages are probably small. There are 102 kindergartens. This is how we are going about reducing the gap between urban and rural areas. If we leave the countryside in mud, if we leave the countryside without electricity, if we leave the countryside without access to clean water, without adequate schools, hospitals, reducing the gap between urban and rural is still impossible.

Every Villages Access to Electricity and Clean Water

[…] some 87% (of villages) have access to electricity. There are no electricity for villages in remote areas. I believe that would be the case for some newly developed provinces, such as Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, and Preah Vihear. These provinces may be a bit slow (in having access to electricity and clean water) compared to other provinces in the lower basin area, which every village already have electricity […] we will make sure that all rural villages have access to electricity. Now 98 percent of the villages (in the whole country) have access to electricity. The remaining 2%, would be those in Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Preah Vihear – the newly developed province. We must continue to work to provide electricity to the people as well. Where water pipe of clean water are not there yet, we may have to work harder of giving them access to well water to solve the water problem.

March 2022 – Two Hospitals to Inaugurate

Regarding the new achievements as mentioned by HE Wang Wentian, at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, three achievements have gone into inauguration – the first is the bridge (at Stoeng Trang of Kompong Cham province and Kroch Chhmar of Tbong Khmom province) and the official opening of the construction site of Road 71. Secondly, the inauguration of the Morodok Techo Stadium, a huge (China’s) grant of over one hundred million dollars for the SEA Games, but also serving the needs of our youth and sports development to the future. The third achievement is the road that we are celebrating now.

The other two major hospitals that will be inaugurating are a hospital in Tbong Khmum, inaugurated on March 7 … and the Cambodia-China Friendship Hospital Preah Kosamak on the 28th (March). Therefore, in March, two hospitals worth nearly 80 million US dollars are going into services with the assistance of the People’s Republic of China. Earlier this year, apart from China, we also had the opening of a South Korean site for National Road 48 and the inauguration of Road 5 with Japanese funding from Battambang to Serei Sophorn. In the next few days, a few more Japanese built bridges in Prey Veng will also go into service. Well, the construction sites are open non-stop. In other words, Covid-19 may slow us down, but cannot hinder our development […]

NR 7 to Border with Laos, a Bridge at Kratie Town, and the Road to Kampong Thom

For this province (Kratie), HE Wang Wentian said “China owes” […] I would say the Chinese friend has two more obligations. The first obligation was to connect NR 7 to the border with Laos with expansion and improved quality. We did it once together, but now it is in damaged condition. The second obligation is, in 2023, to launch the construction for the bridge across the area near the provincial town of Kratie so that we can connect to Kampong Thom. Do not assume that Hun Sen forget about Kratie province. The connection of the bridge in Kratie province is not just for crossing from one side to the other, but we are building a road to Kampong Thmor and Kampong Thom province […] it is a habit of the Chinese friend, when they speak and they work fast than what set in plan. This is a Chinese way. They talked less, but they do more […]

Chinese Market Opens Wider for Cambodian Produces

Indeed, at this stage, China is implementing “Zero Covid-19”. The implementation of Zero Covid-19 makes it difficult for professionals (to travel). When boarding the helicopter together, HE Wang Wentian confirmed that he had solved the problem of phytosanitation checking for the Cambodian produces of Mian Pailin (longan from Pailin) and fish online. Well, we will be exporting them to China. The Chinese market is more open to accept Cambodian produces. Bananas and mangoes are already on export. In this Kratie area, people can grow bananas and mangoes to meet not only domestic demand, but also for export demand, for foreign currency. Doing rice farming alone cannot be rich. We have to have goods to serve for export […] although now it is difficult for Chinese technicians to travel to Cambodia to inspect the Chinese friend has made it easier for the so-called online information system to control such checking […]

“3 Dos 3 Don’ts”, Basic Vaccination Plus Boosters, China’s Sinovac, Vaccine Factory

… Even though the COVID-19 has been down for more than 30 days and we have not had any casualties, the economy is fully open, including the opening of karaoke clubs we must not forget to protect ourselves. Continuing the vaccination campaign for people who have not had vaccinated with the basic doses, the first dose, the second dose, because s/he has some diseases, or pregnant women when we started the vaccination campaign […] the other day I told His Excellency Wang Wintian at my house that I was ordering 5 million doses of Sinovac. Suddenly, His Excellency Wang Wintian said that there was no need to buy, keep the money. China is to donate the 5 million doses of vaccine. However, because I have approved the commission’s request, I wrote back that let us buy only 3 million doses as China would donate 5 million doses […]

Please help deliver to Cambodia because I need to have it in hands to ensure that my people have had their strategic vaccination, which in turn guarantee the community immunity causing no more deaths of COVID-19. That is how I do things. I apologize that the vaccine arrived in Kratie a little late compared to Phnom Penh. This is a solution when we do not have enough vaccine […] I voiced on phone that we needed to ensure full vaccination in Phnom Penh and Kandal. That was the cause for delay. This option is the best […]

Some countries have now reached the level of enforcing administrative and legal measures, with fines for those who refused to have vaccination or dismissal from work for not vaccinating. Well, for us here, we give to our people free of charge […] the day before, the French ambassador requested for Pfizer to inject 6,000 people, including children from the first dose […] in case we could not provide, France will request the import of Pfizer and Moderna. I told Lok Chumteav Or Vandin to give vaccines for both the booster dose and the base dose to 6,000 people. Cambodians are generous. Foreigners in Cambodia, Cambodians provided vaccines for not a dime […]

I have nothing to give now, and those countries already have theirs. The vaccines to arrive is for use only in Cambodia. Since AstraZeneca Poland has approached its deadline, we needed to speed up in provinces to provide them as booster doses. Separately, the storage period of Sinovac and Sinopharm is 2 years, so we can buy and store in the warehouse. I do not want to be an officer by letting the army go into battle without weapons, without ammunition. I have to make sure that our doctors have enough means on hand for vaccinations or immunizations. This is a guarantee that our efforts are now recognized.

I would like to thank the People’s Republic of China for its strategic support in providing vaccines to the Cambodian people and thank all the sources of support that have provided the vaccines to Cambodia: Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland and Australia, whose vaccines come to us as a source of support. The strategic source we still need to continue is from China. Let us work together to promote the establishment of a vaccine production base in Cambodia … Doing that means that we would have things in hand. Although we order from the factory, the vaccine is in Cambodia without the hassle of long distance shipping […]

Please call on our people to do their best so that we do not go backwards. We missed the Khmer New Year celebration for 2 years in a row. Now this year, we are determined to celebrate it. Let us dance for fun, but dance a little apart. During the Chinese New Year, there were nearly 1 million people going places […] but we see very low infection rates in the provinces. Kratie does not seem to have infection for more than a month now. We have worked very hard to fight this disease. Now Alpha and Delta, a deadly disease seems to be going out of Cambodia, and what is happening today, there are 108 people infected with Omicron. (I am calling on our people to keep exercising) the 3 Dos and 3 Don’ts […]

“Scolding Hun Sen Does Not Means the Person Has No Relationship with Hun Sen”

I think I do not say anything more. I do not want to talk politics. It is boring … some commented that the US canceled the US-ASEAN meeting due to US dissatisfaction with the ASEAN chair. We have received the letter (about the US-ASEAN Summit) since January 14, but … we kept it away until yesterday. I signed the response letter on February 1. They were offended, but now they are starting to make more comments saying that as long as Hun Sen dares to go to the United States, he will surely fall into the hands of the United States. What a deviation […]

Let me send a message to James Sok too. Brother James Sok, as you speak I have your voice with me here. You speak with the intention of causing me to return fire to you, brother, so that you will attract some people in the opposition. I do not play with you. You are wrong in what you said. For example, “If there is a war, be willing to take up arms and attack Cambodia.” I warn you, you are worse than animals. The beast knows its nest. Even if you are a foreigner, you should not use that language. Even if you do not speak, no one will call you dumb […]

Method for Myanmar: “Put out the Flames of War before Democracy Works”

The situation in Myanmar has caused some to agree and some to disagree. That is the democratic process. I am also waiting to see between the soft and hard methods, (which one will work). My mandate is just over 11 months, so … let have someone solve it later. I chair ASEAN for a year, how could I solve the problem of Myanmar? I am continuing my efforts to resolve. Previously, many Myanmar people insulted me. I have to remind them that what they do is wrong. I have no interest other than to help the people of Myanmar get out of the war. Some are now cursing the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy. She also has an interpretation of the so-called process of dividing power with the military. Those who made comments cursed the special envoy (accusing her) for trying to keep the military in power. (The way I see it is that) if you wanted to get rid of the military, you have to go to war for another 50 years. Go for it if you would like to. From seeking peace to protecting peace for my country, (I know that) it is very difficult. If you want to fight, go ahead.

My method is to put out the flames of war, and then see about democracy, or whatever. People can like or dislike it. If they do not like it, (let me ask) to whom would you talk? Now think of this question. They want to overthrow the government of those in power in Naypyidaw. You do it as you please. According to the Cambodian eleven-year experience, from 1979-1991, the Khmer Rouge sit at the United Nations. The Hun Sen government had had not recognition by anyone. In the end, they had had to work with Hun Sen. (This) is an experience that you should understand. Whether you belong to the opposition in Myanmar or to others, (I am inviting) you look forward to fighting non-stop. If (you continue to pursue the) position of closing the door. Wanted me to go and solve complicated things in one day […] those mighty ones may go do it themselves […]

Holding on to 5 Points Consensus Initiated with Partners in the ASEAN Framework

I am now willing to go to South Korea to co-chair a meeting on the Korean Peninsula with three or four co-chairs – including me, the President of Albania, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – and maybe the UPF (Universal Peace Federation) Chairman. I will read the opening speech. If they welcome me, I go. If someone does not welcome me, I have many jobs to attend. I fulfill the role of ASEAN (Chair) […]

I will wait and see with other ASEAN partners on resolving the Myanmar issue because I seems anyone has tried to resolve it. Once the ASEAN Chair started acting, there have been reactions internally and among us. There are also many supporters, both inside and outside the region. This method is a way to prevent people from dying. I do not want you to be killed by bullets or bombs. I want the prisoners released. I want a ceasefire, humanitarian aid and I want a dialogue. It all comes down to a five-point consensus. Speaking of meetings in Jakarta, ask for the recording back. (Who) raises 5 points of consensus? I raised 3 points, but (Singaporean Prime Minister His Excellency) Lee Hsien Loong organized it into 5 points.

Journalists also got it. At that time, they did not write anything in my praise. Even the Philippine Foreign Minister posted on Facebook praising me for raising the issue. Why would I abandon the five-point consensus that I initiated with other partners in the ASEAN framework. I should say in response with some diplomatic language and some exhortation. Although Cambodia is a small country, we have equal rights. Let the ASEAN Chair do some work. If you wanted to fight, just you fight then […]

Thank China for Honoring HM to the Opening of the Winter Olympics

Through His Excellency Wang Winthean, I would like to express my gratitude to the People’s Republic of China and thank you for the honor of inviting HM Preah Karuna Preah Mohakhsat of the Kingdom of Cambodia to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Not many heads of state and government have been invited there. However, Cambodia is one among countries where China has honored the King for attending, and this shows the strong ties between Cambodia and China, as we are friends strong as steel with each other […]./.