Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Inaugural Speech of Cambodia-Korea Friendship Buildings of Ang Duong Hospital for Otolaryngology (Specialty Focused on Ears, Nose, and Throat) [Unofficial Translation]

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CNV: 28/03/2022

Cambodia-Korea Ang Duong Hospital Friendship Buildings for Otolaryngology

I am pleased to join HE Park Heung-Kyeong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, KOICA Representative, as well as Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, to inaugurate the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Building of Ang Duong Hospital, which is a hospital specialized in treatment of ear, nose and throat (or otolaryngology). As the Korean Ambassador stated, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Korea. This year we also launch numerous groundbreaking ceremonies and inauguration ceremonies – the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of national road 48 connecting national road 4 to the provincial town of Koh Kong, the inauguration of the national road 21, which connects Kandal province to the Vietnamese border last week. This week we are inaugurating the Ear, Nose and Throat Treatment Center, called the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Building […]

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude, with the participation of His Excellency, Lok Chumteav, Ladies and Gentlemen, and all the medical staff working here, to the Ambassador and the Representative of KOICA. This is another achievement – the fruit of the relationship between Cambodia and the Republic of Korea, and we have indeed moved towards specialization in otolaryngology, as here the preparation of the (building) of this hospital proved. The Royal Government focused in liaising with our development partners to bring in specialties to serve the needs of the people. Today we have buildings that specialize in nose, throat and ears and, in the future, we are building the Cambodia-Korea Friendship building for eye center at Ang Duong Hospital as well. We have four more specialties for treatment in our country.

Cambodia-Korea Relations’ 81 Projects on Health, Education, Transportation, Culture, IT

Those who have the budget can seek treatment in different places, but those who do not have a lot of money can get treatment here, where we have hospitals, specialists and specialized expertise. I am proud to have contributed to the 25 years of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and the Republic of Korea that have led to the implementation of many projects, as mentioned by the Ambassador, up to 81 more projects, whereas others are in the fields of health, education, transportation, culture, information and communication technology. That is the fruit of the relationship between Cambodia and Korea. As a leader and founder of Cambodia-Republic of Korea relations, I am proud that we have made the right choice in our diplomacy and have maintained this relationship to this day.

It is not just about aid and loans. It is relating to all areas, including politics, diplomacy, economics, society and culture. We have to deal with every country without political discrimination. I am happy because what we have been doing here is for the benefit of the people. Koreans really do not come for treatment in our country, except when necessary for investors or Koreans who work in Cambodia, who may need some medical treatments. The real beneficiaries of our treatment facilities, however, are the Cambodians.

Besides Specialties, Cambodia Gained Access to Digital Systems

I call for attention to the transfer of technology that Korea has for Cambodian doctors to gain more knowledge. I am pleased to see that HE Mam Bunheng has made a report regarding the very first digital process for a hospital. The Republic of Korea is one of the most advanced countries in information technology. So digitally operating in this hospital is common for Korea. It is a new thing and acquirement for Cambodia though and an important part for socio-economic development for the world today. Cambodia has tried to find a partner who can afford to provide us with these specialty and technology […] if we do not get the transfer of technology and/or do not absorb knowledge […] our treatment ability is also limited […]

I also have a need (for treatment). Talking about the four specialties in this hospital – ears, nose, throat and eyes (that will be ready in the future) I am in need of two specialties already. I also invited a specialist from this hospital to check on me. It is everyone’s knowledge that I have an eye injury in the war and now it is close to the 47th anniversary of the day I was injured and blind. Maybe in the future, I need to come to Ang Duong Hospital, not one but many times for the eyes and also for the ears […] everyone must be ready and know where to rely on for medical examination. That is why I urge our medical staff to take advantage of the technological knowledge that Korea has transferred to us and strive to further medical capabilities.

Increase National Budget/Find Development Partners for Diagnose and Treatments

I enjoy the fruit of our efforts. Over the past two decades, we have been working to increase funding for the social sector, with priority given to education and health. Now the achievement has really happened for our country in these two areas. We have allowed only recruitment in the fields of education and health. They can recruit teachers and doctors. Over the past years, we have been able to recruit about 4,000 doctors to meet the medical needs of the population, and in contributing to the fight with Covid-19. Therefore, along with increasing the national budget, we also find development partners either through grants or through financing – to build capacity, diagnosis and treatment for our people.

I am very proud and would to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Ministry of Health and to all the doctors throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia for working hard over the past two years to overcome all difficulties caused by the global epidemic Covid-19. If we look at where we were in the past and the fact that we have overcome this problem, it shows the success of the efforts of our medical team with the participation of the people to solve difficult problems. Last year, at this time, it was our hardest time as the February 20 Covid-19 breakout event began.

At this time then we started having dead bodies. Hundreds of people infected every day, and there are many who are in the hospitals. We never allow, however, any of our citizens to die without examination and without treatment, and the country had had no sick people sleeping on the streets. We have done a good job and thanks to the management assistance of our sub-national authorities in taking care of and fulfilling the inevitable tasks […]

Community Immunity Reduced Infection or Made Infection Less Lethal

Compared to last year, we are very tired. We have to monitor the situation at that time every day and there was no vaccine. We just started to have a small number of vaccines that came through COVAX of the World Health Organization and we had Sinopharm from China in small quantities. Now we vaccinated more than 92% of our population – 14.8 million of the 16 million people. This community immunity has reduced infection or infection but not serious. Where does this come from? This has come out as the result of our hard work. Our medical team, dubbed the army in white gown, some previously did not see the value of our doctors. They now have recognized nationwide.

Of course, some of our doctors here are not involved in the fight against Covid-19, but be aware that we are fighting not the only with Covid-19. We have other patients too […] Doctors work with the responsibility of the government and the authorities at all levels, as well as the involvement of our people, to control Covid-19 disease […]

Better Infrastructures in Cambodia’s Three Economic Poles

I can proudly say that this year we have the opportunity to celebrate the (Khmer) New Year. We have been missing the celebration two years already. Unfortunately, though, that this year our compatriots can go out celebrating with trips wherever they like to, the price of gasoline went up. The causing factor is not the Covid-19, but the Russian-Ukrainian war. Anyway, our brothers and sisters still have a chance to hang out and I hang out with them. I hear that in Sihanoukville, people have already booked hotels. I heard that in Siem Reap they almost have no room left. I will inaugurate the roads in Siem Reap on April 4.

People wanted to come see the newly built roads. As of present, the three (economic) poles have better infrastructures. Phnom Penh have good roads. Sihanoukville, which is the second pole of the Cambodian economy, also has good roads. Siem Reap also has good roads. I will inaugurate 38 roads in Siem Reap, a major tourist province, where we have invested more than 200 million US dollars to improve the infrastructure. I will also inspect a new airport that is under construction, which will soon accommodate heavy aircrafts from a long distance […] currently, only small aircrafts can land at Siem Reap Airport […]

Construction of Hospital for Covid-19 Patients Continues

The hospital that the City Hall (of Phnom Penh) is building, with the ability to accommodate more than 10,000 Covid-19 patients, will have to continue, even though we now have only about 600 people across the country treated (with Covid-19)). The hospital is still under construction, and if at any time Covid-19 runs out, we will use those buildings for regular medical purpose, because there are surgery and maternity wards. There may be other diseases that we can make use of the buildings in the future. We have a large land and put in a lot of money to build this hospital. When the time comes, we will equip the hospital with more equipment and facilities […]

Cambodia-Korea Ties Reach Unprecedented Level

Through His Excellency Ambassador Park Heung-Kyeong, I would like to express my gratitude to the Government and people of Korea for their continued support for the development of the Kingdom of Cambodia in general and the health and hospital sector in particular. Our relationship is at an all-time high. Now, the trade agreement between Cambodia and Korea is waiting only the fulfillment of Korea’s internal formalities by expediting the meeting between the Korean parliamentarians. I had a meal with His Excellency the Speaker of the Korean Parliament […] and the Korean President Moon Jae-in confirmed that the government would forward the draft law to the National Assembly. Samdech Say Chhum’s future visit to Korea may be part of the process of activities to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties. Today, what we are doing here is also an act of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations […]

Travelers Needed No 72-Hours Covid-19 Negative and Visa on Arrival

Our concern now regarding the pandemic […] is what the new mutant virus Omicron will turn to be. We need to keep abreast of the disease’s changes in the world and around our country […]. Rumors have been circulating that Laotians may not be celebrating the New Year. Just an estimate, as the infection rate in Laos is on the rise. In Vietnam, the previous day reached 180,000 people […] in Thailand the number has risen to nearly 30,000 a day, while Cambodia is declining. We also strictly control the situation at the Cambodian-Thai border. Those who have not vaccinated enough and traveled from Thailand, we need them to take 14 days of quarantine, which so far leaves more than 1,000 people on the Cambodian-Thai border […]

Those coming from abroad, we have exempted the procedures – no quarantine and no test. People who showed up at the airport, we do not even need a certificate to prove of their Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours. They also do not have to ask for visa anywhere before coming. We provide them with visa on arrival. This is to facilitate travels of business people, diplomats, and tourists coming to Cambodia […] we do not underestimate what is happening in our country, though. (While the pandemic situation) is easing, we are still trying to monitor its evolution closely.

Apart from HM the King, Only Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Can Speak Foreign Policy

Before reaching the end, let me take this opportunity to talk a little bit (regarding Cambodia’s foreign policy and position). A few days ago something happened that I should have made public (my opinion) for Cambodian people. Cambodia voted against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We have voted twice, not just in elections, but Cambodia was also a Co-sponsor or Co-Founder of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution. Lately, there have been people who made comments and I would clarify a little bit here. Those who have the right to speak about foreign policy formally on behalf of Cambodia, apart from HM the King are the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. No one else can comment on Cambodia’s position.

There have been comments suggesting that Cambodia voted against Russia (‘s invasion of Ukraine) based on four reasons – firstly, Cambodia does not yet have submarines; secondly, Cambodia does not yet have MiG bombers; thirdly, Cambodia does not have military service yet and fourthly, the Cambodian army has numerous generals with a big belly. Judging from what they say, does that mean with modern weapons, Cambodia would vote in support of the Russian’s invasion? This is the point to ask question. I would like to emphasize that Cambodia stands in principle (against all sorts of invasion), not only in the case of Russia. Any country that invades another country. It is Cambodia position to go against the action.

Pursue a Foreign Policy Based on Law, UN Charter, Not On Force

Russia is our friend. Russia used to help us. We have relation since the 1950s. However, Russia has invaded Ukraine. They are not going there just to help the Donetsk and Luhansk republics. They strike straight through to Kiev. Thus, with such an act of aggression, Cambodia cannot accept and cannot be neutral. If any country behaves like this on Cambodia in the future, who does Cambodia have to depend on?

We pursue a foreign policy based on the law, based on the UN Charter, and we do not pursue a foreign policy based on force. Commenting that Cambodia was not ready because of its lack of submarines, lack of MiG aircraft, lack of military service, the army was full of big belly generals, would infer that Cambodia would change its mindset from the vote in opposition to voting in favor. Commenters should be wary of such comments.

Cambodia’s foreign policy based on the rule of law, UN Charter, not using force or threatening to use force in international relations […] whichever country raises troops from one country to invade another, (we) must condemn. I would confirm Cambodia’s official position that we strongly oppose the use of force or the threat of using force against another country in international relations. We must respect the independence and sovereignty of nations. Respect of Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty is equal to respect of Cambodia’s independence and sovereignty […]

[…] Buying a MIG is some US$ 20 M to US$ 30 M […] I do not have an appetite for that. I would only use helicopters for transports. […] if the enemy use jet fighters to invade our airspace, we will send sky net from below […] if they entered the airspace without asking for permission and violated the airspace, the sky net is going up. They would not know from where it would come. If they invaded our airspace or drop bombs on us, and we would send the sky net up […]

I would like to confirm this point. The ones who have to take a real position at the United Nations is the Royal Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through our representative there. Anyone who makes a different comment is invalid. We consider them only scholars who can freely comment in their study modes. Do not confuse this, however, that Cambodia’s foreign policy would shift from anti-aggression stance to pro-invasion at a time when Cambodia has sufficient military strength. No matter how strong Cambodia’s military force is, Cambodia will continue to pursue a foreign policy based on the rule of law, based on respect for the UN Charter, not using force or threatening to use force in international relations […]

Standing by and in Solidarity with Ukrainians against Invasion

In fact, yesterday I also saw historians talked about why Russia did not invade Kiev. For me, I understand that it is not easy for Russia to invade Ukraine and to take Kiev immediately. (It has now been) more than a month and they cannot take it. I do not believe that Russia can dissolve the Ukrainian administration. Even if it invades Kiev, it will not be able to dissolve the Ukrainian administration and the Ukrainian people. Supposed they killed a president or the prime minister, would there be no Ukrainians left. Ukraine has more than 40 million people. Their commander so far, if we look at the Ukrainian army, which is the sharp force of Ukraine, about 200,000 active troops, they have not suffered severe damages. That we have not counted in the reserved forces […]

I still believe that for the last resort, Russia and Ukraine will come to a ceasefire and there is an agreement that both sides can accept. No war can end the war. I still have such confidence and I still maintain my position. Despite the resolutions, no matter how many there will be, I stand by Ukraine in solidarity with the people of Ukraine to oppose the invasion, no matter if the invasion comes from Russia or from whom else. I still condemn all the same. This is our position. This is the principle. Our Russian friends will understand us why Cambodia is against it. Cambodia had suffered invasion in the past. Therefore, Cambodia must condemn those who invaded.

There are times when Cambodia has to be neutral because it is a normal conflict. For example, between India and Pakistan on Kashmir issue. We are in a calm situation because we do not know who is attacking whom. Both sides fire on each other. The Indo-Chinese border, we also take neutral position. Why are we sometimes neutral on the issues of Israel and Palestine? Because we have seen Hamas fire from Gaza into Israeli territory. In that case, Israel is forced to return fire. Then we must remain silent. When we see that Israel uses excessive force to kill civilians in the Gaza area of ​​Palestinian territories, we also condemn Israel.

Do Not Confuse Position of Scholars with That of Royal Government

I hope that our people accept the position we are taking. Any other position other than this is not valid. That is only the position of scholars and researchers, which should not be in confusion with the position of the Royal Government. As I am steering the Royal Government now, I have to hold the key to this issue in my hand. I have to order the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I have to monitor with our representatives at the United Nations how to vote. How far has it worked? How to intervene. I have to communicate directly because I cannot be negligent in pursuing a foreign policy on hot issue. I should clarify this issue because in case the Facebook system and some media outlets spread the word […]

I excuse myself talking about all this to Excellency Ambassador, but my assertion may also be useful for him to understand Cambodia’s position on foreign policy in this hot issue. The world is in trouble because of this. It is hoped that Russia and Ukraine will work together to end the conflict, reduce the death toll and eventually stop the deaths. The humanitarian crisis is raging and millions of refugees are fleeing the country. Refugees displaced in the country. We also welcome the fact that Russia and Ukraine have opened ten humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from the war zone and for food supplies.

It seems that they can still talk. For us outsiders, we have to respect the UN Charter. We have to respect the principle of international order, which does not use force to change the situation. We oppose the use of force to overthrow a government. We oppose the color revolution. We oppose the use of forces to support internal force to overthrow. In this case, Cambodia must continue to adhere (this position). I say this so as not to confuse the commentary by radio or foreign journalists or our local intellectuals or our local people that Cambodia’s foreign policy is in confusion […]

Season of Making Promises Will Come as Commune/Sangkat Elections Near

Some people commented asking for troops to attack Kampuchea Krom. I said you might wanted to go fight yourself. Kampuchea Krom is lost from many generations ago and why ask Hun Sen to do it […] who could have been more patriotic than His Majesty the King Father. Why did he not take his time when he was in power (to attack) Kampuchea Krom. Why wait for Hun Sen to be born later (to do that) […] Lon Nol did not take it between 1970 and 1975 […]

They tried to put the blame about what happened in the past on Hun Sen – who was not even born yet. Koh Tral, the story of Kampuchea Krom, the story of Cochinchina, […] they blame Hun Sen for everything. The season of demanding the return of Kampuchea Krom will arrive. Next month, we are moving closer to the commune/sangkat elections, and they (will make promises that if they win) they will go retake Kampuchea Krom, they will go to retake Koh Tral, […] they will make gasoline price coming down to 3,000 riel per liter […]/.