Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, on the Occasion of The Opening of the Council Meeting of the Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) and the ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) [Unofficial translation]

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Samdech, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Excellences Ambassadors to the Kingdom of Cambodia;
Distinguished Guests from the Council of the Southeast Asian and the ASEAN PARA Games;
Distinguished Delegations, National and International Guests!

[Start of Impromptu Comments]

Four days ago, we all learned about the horror that took place in Japan – the assassination of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We all know that in his role as Prime Minister/leader of Japan, HE Shinzo Abe is strongly committed to strengthening relations between Japan and ASEAN, with the Mekong countries, as well as with each state within the ASEAN framework, including Cambodia. In this regard, to mourn and pay my last respects to His Excellency Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan, who has passed away, I invite His Excellency, Lok Chumteav, Ladies, and Gentlemen to stand up to pay respects to the soul of His Excellency Shinzo Abe. Thank you. Please adjust the attitude.

[End of Impromptu Comments]

Today, it is my great pleasure to be with the delegates of the National Sports and the SEA Games in this important council meeting. I would like to extend warmest welcome to the Sports Delegates of the Council of the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games, who are participating in the three days precious council meeting of the Southeast Asian Games Federation and the ASEAN Para Sports Federation being held in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express sincere thanks to the sports delegates of the Southeast Asian countries for supporting Cambodia in hosting the 2023 SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games in the Kingdom. I would like to highly appreciate the efforts of Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of National Defense and a Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Cambodia SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games 2023, as well as Excellences Vice Chairpersons and Committee members for your good cooperation in organizing this council meeting.

2022-2023 is an important year for the Kingdom of Cambodia in our capacity as the Chair of ASEAN and Chair of the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games. As the rotating chair of the two regional institutions, Cambodia is highly committed to the principles of peaceful cooperation and equality, contributing to addressing any potential challenges in the region in order to ensuring peace, harmonization and comprehensive partnership, aimed at accelerating development for common destiny and prosperity.

In fact, sports sector plays an important role in international relations. The biennial SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games reflect the close ties, solidarity and close cooperation between the Government and the people of all member countries. In addition, sports are also an opportunity to provide both technical and experience exchange in sports, which is the cultural heritage and martial arts of each nation. This international competition also inspires people to love and support sports and also to enhance the sports reputation of each member country to be more famous on the international stage.

Truly, playing any kinds of sports can help maintain good health, which can contribute to enhancing economic productivity. Healthy people are more receptive to new knowledge and technologies, and more committed to increasing human capital that contributes to a high-quality workforce. In addition, well-being strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction, which have been shown to have a positive relationship with economic productivity. Overall, physical education and sports activities are important to promote strong physical health, improve mental health and work, increase intelligence and improve the quality of life and happiness in the family.

Cambodia has been waiting for 64 years to host SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games in 2023. We have missed this opportunity many times since we have to ensure our full capacity and mobilize the necessary resources for excellent and smooth organization of this spectacular regional sport event with a high sense of responsibility.

As the host of the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games in 2023 Cambodia has the ambition to welcome national and international guests and sports delegates with warmth, good hospitality and good service to provide the best experience during the participation in the 2023 SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

As I have underscored, while politics does not have factual standard, sports have concrete global standards, and the same rules and goal, which is to build a better world and contribute to building peace and social stability. Positive suffixes and benefits of sports will encourage all of us to put more efforts in strengthening cooperation in a proactive and interactive manner toward building national sport sector to revive and grow progressively.

To prepare for the hosting of this historic sports event with great success, I would like to share a number of principles and key recommendations as follows:

First, the Organizing Committee of Cambodia 2023 SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games must give thoughtful attention to all aspects, and closely monitor and manage important events to be timely completed, especially time-consuming works that require to start early, including venue renovation, GMS technology management system, opening and closing ceremonies as well as accommodation, food and transportation. In parallel, there need to further develop the technical capacity of sports, including Khmer Bokator and Indonesian Martial Arts called Silat, which has been supported by Excellency, Minister of Defence of Indonesia, as well as Judo under the support from Excellency, the former Ambassador of Japan.

Second, I would like to, once again, appeal to public and private media to actively involve in the campaign to advertise and clean-up homes and society through the campaigns on “One person plays one sport,” “Cambodia is beautiful”, “Cambodia reduces traffic accidents and reduces the effects of drugs.” and “sports live in peace” inside and outside the country.

Third, I would like to request the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to examine the possibility of extending a small vacation during the traditional Khmer New Year until May 18, 2023 to provide opportunities for students to volunteer and participate in congratulating and encouraging National and international athletes.

Fourth, I would like to call on the member countries of the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games to provide all possible support for the success of the 2023 SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games.

Finally, I would like to wish the three-days meeting of the Council of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games Federation and the Council of the ASEAN Para Games Federation a fruitful result. I would like to wish Samdech, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Sports Delegates, SEA Games Council and ASEAN Para Games Council a comfortable and enjoyable stay in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Thanks you!