Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion and quality improvement of the National Road 7 segment from Skun to Kompong Cham City into 4 Lanes [Unofficial Translation]

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(1) Expansion and quality improvement of National Road No. 7 Skun/Kampong Cham City according to the expressway standard

[…] Today, January 9, we are launching the construction site for the expansion and quality improvement of National Road 7, which is only 45 kilometers, but we have to spend up to 100 million US dollars, because, as HE Sun Chanthol reported, this road becomes an obstacle (in the form of a bottleneck) when there is heavy traffic. This road obstructed (flows of traffic). Therefore, we have a need to widen this road, as shown on the map by HE Sun Chanthol, which displayed here, confirming that the future road segment is not much different from the expressway connecting Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanoukville, with two-lanes to and two-lanes from with a width of 3 meters 75, which is the standard of the expressway.

(2) Chinese financing for roads, canals, electricity and development of the Kingdom of Cambodia

This is another effort that we have made together with the People’s Republic of China to raise funds for the construction and development of our nation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chinese friends for their continued assistance, including funding for the development of roads, canals, electricity, and other areas contributing greatly to the development of the Kingdom of Cambodia. I am very pleased that Cambodia has become a comprehensive strategic partner with China. This year marks the 65th anniversary of Cambodia-China friendship. We got a loan to build the road. I made this point during an online conference on the Future of Asia in 2021.

(3) China granted vaccines and sold at low prices to Cambodia

The facilitator said to me that “you seemed to be too close to China.” I replied to him that “if I am not dependent on China, who should I rely on? […] if I do not rely on China, who will help me?” […] I also pointed out that the vaccine that Cambodia has been giving to the Cambodian people every day, if I do not rely on China, who should I rely on for it? At that time, how many countries would give us the vaccine? They did, but in very small amount that we cannot meet our much-needed demand for our citizens. Chinese friends have both granted and sold to us, while they also have high demand for the Chinese people. It is known that there are up to 1.4 billion Chinese people and friends abroad also need from China, but out of understanding, our Chinese friends have both granted and sold at a low price to/for us […]

(4) Even at the beginning of the 21st century, some financial institutions improperly assessed Cambodia development as well as road construction need

Speaking of this road, HE Sun Chanthol reported a that in the past year, this road was built with a grant from Japan. The road was then repaired by fund from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. As we can see, based on this road 7 experience, even at the beginning of the 21st century, there were still incorrect assessment by some financial institutions regarding the development of Cambodia, such as the construction of only 7 meters or 9 meters width roads […] now, even though we expand the road width to 12 meters, it is still small, and requiring us to expand even bigger. This has shown the pace of development of Cambodia, which a few days ago we celebrated the 44th anniversary of the liberation of the country from the genocidal regime of Pol Pot, and the 24th anniversary of the day we completed peace through win-win politics, and completely unified the country.

(5) National Road 7 – a backbone for the growth of the central zone, with connection to the northeast

This peace factor gives us opportunities for development, as the Ambassador HE Wang Wintien just mentioned. I will talk about this a little bit later. Regarding the National Road 7, it is the backbone for the growth of the central zone with connectivity to the northeast. From the central region, it connects to Kampong Cham, and Kampong Thom, and to other parts in the north. To the northeast, this road connects us to Prey Veng, which can also link with Phnom Penh via National Road 11 and/or via National Road 8 […] more importantly, it links us to the connection with the border with Laos […] so it can be said that this national road (is making many connections and) needs to be restored, (to get rid of) the bottleneck trajectory that makes it difficult to travel between Kampong Cham and Skun.

(6) After the signing, we can launch the construction

Today we rejoice together after the 44th anniversary of the January 7 Liberation Day to inaugurate the construction site. I would like to take this opportunity to thank China once again for the financing for the implementation of this project, for which the signing ceremony was held when HE Li Keqiang paid an official visit and attended the ASEAN Summit. From November to this moment is not a long time. We plan immediately for the construction to start. This means that we are not waiting for approvals of many levels, but just the seals of the two prime ministers. After signing, we can launch the construction site immediately […]

(7) Four investment priorities: people, roads, water, electricity; no roads/bridges, no development

[…] Next to us here is a rice mill. There is a rice mill in this place. Well, if the road is bigger, the transportation of rice at this mill or transporting the milled rice from this place to another place for supply or export will be better. No road, no bridge, one cannot develop. What I put out in 1987 – more than 30 years ago – is still valid until now and will be valid for another 30 years. That is, concentrating on investing in water, roads, electricity, people, which we now call “people, road, water and electricity priorities,” and we will prioritize for our investments […]

(8) Imbalances between multiple means of transportation and road size

It is quite unimaginable. I have written in my book, “10 Years of the Cambodian Journey,” which I wrote about Cambodia’s challenging efforts to meet numerous imbalances. Among them, there was an imbalance between the need for travel and the lack of means of transportation. Now this imbalance has shifted to an imbalance between too many means of transportation with too few lanes. The stages of each are not the same. We need to update the actual requirements so that we set the right investment goals. Otherwise, we will surely make mistakes in nation building.

(9) In 2023, Cambodia will host the SEA Games with the help of China’s Techo Heritage Stadium

For example, the SEA Games hosting. I have asked our ASEAN partners for understanding that Cambodia would not be able to host the SEA Games because I needed to raise funds to build roads, bridges, canals, hospitals, and schools. Our friends in ASEAN understand. This year we will be hosting the SEA Games. In this SEA Games, if we do not receive a huge grant, from the Chinese friends, that is worth about 200 million US dollars for building the stadium (Techo Heritage), we may find it difficult to host the SEA Games still […] if we were to use the money we earned to host the SEA Games, it would be called erratic dancing. While people did not have roads, we spent for the stadium. Now that we have had continuously developed, we must respond to the needs obligated as ASEAN leaders and as ASEAN members, to host the games. Last year, we made efforts to host the ASEAN Summit. That is the effort to boost economic growth, and when we have good roads, electricity supply, and everything, it is clear that peace will come and stay for the people […]

(10) Without the participation of the people cannot succeed in ruling Covid-19

One of the more obvious efforts is related to the combat against the Covid-19. No matter how smart I was, without the support of the people, I would not be able to succeed in managing Covid-19. If the people do not accept the health measures […] as well as the vaccination, what the situation in Cambodia would be so far […] we do not know yet what other forms Covid-19 could turn into. Therefore, it is necessary to call on our people to continue to receive the vaccine, and do not wait until it is too late to rescue. There is no shortage of vaccines now. We have more than 7 million doses left in the warehouse, with another 15 million doses on stand-by in China […] and with another 5.5 million doses promised by the United States […]

(11) Holding position indefinitely for 44 years; Cambodia’s Mines-Free in 2025

At the moment, HE Wang Wentian talked about some issues related to myself as well as the CPP and the (Royal) government led by me. By now, I have been in power for 44 years. And with only a few days left, I will be the Prime Minister that hold the post for 38 years on which day I will meet with the media. This year, maybe I will leave some opportunities besides my impromptu speech […] to let our journalists ask questions […] so that we can communicate on some issues […] our country is flooded with war after the coup of March 18, 1970 (when the Lon Nol and his clique) overthrew Prince Norodom Sihanouk […]

Although the war had been over for 24 years, landmines have not been completely destroyed. We are pushing for a minefield free by 2025. Kampong Cham is the target province for demining and declaring a mine-free province, starting from demined villages/communes/districts to mine-free provinces, and reaching the whole of Cambodia without mines by 2025. So far, we have invested heavily with other development partners to clear the remaining more than 700 square kilometers of land […] still under mines […]

(12) The dialectical connection between peace and development

For us now, (we must) maintain peace for development […] peace cannot exist without development. This is the dialectical connection between peace and development. If you want to develop, you have to keep the peace, and if you want to keep the peace, you have to develop. If left unchecked, the people will start demanding this/that until they form armed forces or insurgency created due to poverty or the neglect of (the Royal) Government. Therefore, peace and development must go hand in hand […]

(13) The main strategy of the Cambodian People’s Party – the right to life

This is the main strategy of the Cambodian People’s Party. Before talking about other issues, we must deal with the right to life. Without this right, there would have been no other rights. As in the Khmer Rouge era or the 1970-75 war, bullets recognize no human rights? It kills people. (Does) the Khmer Rouge know anything about human rights? They do not. That is why it is our request to keep the peace, and through that golden/diamond opportunity, we need to promote development. We make development to strengthen peace. And we make peace to promote development […]

(14) CPP does not accept the word “votes thief”

We will not let you accuse us of being thieves for life. I would like to say that the protesting culture after the election must end. The CPP cannot accept the word ‘votes thief’. Whoever dares to say this, we must file a lawsuit, even to the Supreme Court, we must do it because by calling it freedom of expression, you accused CPP of being a thief. The CPP cannot accept your word blaming us all “someone who steals your ballots.” Well, there are only two options […] either enforcing the law through the courts or I have to gather the People’s Party supporters to protest […]

(15) January 7 is not the exclusive property of the CPP, but of everyone who wants to overthrow Pol Pot regime

The CPP already knows how to defend itself and sell its goods. How much has been achieved on Cambodian soil is the result of the CPP’s efforts. I would also like to make it clear from here that January 7 (victory over the Pol Pot’s regime) is the property of all, not the exclusive property of the CPP. Anyone who hates the Pol Pot regime and wants it to fall is having a share for January 7. You need to understand January 7. It is not hostile to anyone. January 7 – takes the Khmer Rouge as an enemy only, and not anyone else as an enemy […]

I have reserved (understanding for Kong Koam) because we used to be together. But you do not understand me. You do not understand the CPP that gives you peace. I hit Kong Koam today. I am warning Kong Koam not to be too arrogant. To satisfy the “outside prisoners,” whom you attacked over the past few years, you now attack the CPP? He himself served in the CPP, and became a member of the Central Committee and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but he broke the Ministry of Foreign Affairs […] if you wanted to leave (please) leave all out. If you are to stay, (please) enter all in. There is no head in and tail out […] I beg you to act in the manner of a dignified political party […] you just described the political program of your (Candlelight) party. It is not necessary to hit at the CPP. If you do, and if the CPP hit back, please do not say (that I did not warn you) […]

(16) Single nationality law for politicians to consider

Since they like to say that this person has this nationality, that person has that nationality, and so and so with so and so nationality has been sued or imprisoned, I said, “then I also have to think about the Cambodian Constitution, whether it should be limited to one nationality (or not for politicians in Cambodia) so that things would not be difficult […] like this person coming from this country, and s/he was convicted. The ambassador said that s/he has this/that nationality. If so, we may immediately conclude that all politicians must have only Khmer nationality […] (on this issue, let us) consider further whether requiring civil servants, the armed forces and politicians having one nationality should be included in the Constitution? I have to think […] I believe that my words are taken by all embassies and translated. Maybe some ambassadors are even listening to it now […]

(17) A neutral and peaceful political environment for elections requires contributions from all political parties, not just the CPP

I would like to warn and send a message to all political parties, especially a political party that launches repeated attacks on the CPP, and specifically Kong Koam […] to be careful, or we may not be patient […] if you do not cause trouble, you are hit by lightning strike or what? January 7 gives you your life. When you were with the CPP, you praised January 7 repeatedly […] when you joined others, you insulted January 7, the CPP […] please do not take side with any political parties […] please watch out and do not move into cases (that is prohibited by) the law on the political party, whereas with foreign support, parties would face with what and how […] (if we all) want a neutral and peaceful political environment for the election, there must be contributions from all of you (political parties), not only the CPP […]

(18) CPP will take the court as basis of actions

As President of the Cambodian People’s Party, I want concerned levels to hold tight this issue. There are lawyers of the CPP at all levels. Where the issue takes place, process the lawsuit right there. It is not that when things happen in one place and the lawsuit will process in Phnom Penh. If the case happens in Kampong Cham, the lawsuit will be in Kampong Cham, if it happens in Tbong Khmum, the lawsuit will be in Tbong Khmum […] it is a normal process of the court […] while it is possible that you hit someone, that someone hit back, is the right thing to do. You snatched someone, in a quick reaction, the person hit back and you may be knocked out. You are small and not yet a worthy challenger. Do your best (to get known) and not to hit others. If you hit them, and surely they will hit you back […]