Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway [Unofficial Translation]

(1) The ASEAN Highway Ho Chi Minh/Phnom Penh/Bangkok becomes a reality

Seeing the importance of the expressway, we started negotiations with our Chinese friend, the Chinese Road and Bridge Corporation, which has implemented the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway project, to study the expressway project of connecting Phnom Penh with Bavet town, linking up with the expressway in Vietnam. We worked with Vietnamese friends who also build an expressway from Ho Chi Minh City to connect with us. This can be an important connection. This is part of the realization of the ASEAN Highway project, which was previously only an initiative without fund to implement. Now, through the participation of the Cambodian private sector, the ASEAN Highway between Cambodia and Vietnam or Ho Chi Minh City – Phnom Penh – Bangkok has become a reality […]

(2) The original investment project is 1,700 million dollars, including the Mekong River Bridge

The original project investment cost, which also included the cost of building the bridge across the Lower Mekong River, was up to 1.7 billion dollars […] it requires that people have to pay money when they cross the river. I told HE Sun Chanthol to find way to avoid taking money from people on crossing the bridge or for the company to increase the price (for use of) the 135 km (expressway). The toll fee was still too high. It is too expensive for anyone to use that road. People would continue to use the national road No. 1 […] and finally we decided to build the bridge ourselves. The Royal Government has invested 232,588,000 USD to build this bridge to solve the problem (of adding toll fees on) the people […] here we have two parts – one part is the company’s project of investment – which mean they build the expressway and charge toll fees. The Royal Government pays for the construction of bridge (across the Mekong) for people to cross free of charge […]

(3) If the Chinese friend deems necessary to help, will not be hostile to financial assistance

[…] Would be great if China could give more help, including for the bridges. If President Xi Jinping deems it necessary to do so, USD 50 million or USD 100 million would be awesome. I am not hostile to financial help. I asked for help to build things for the people […] the Royal Government of Cambodia […] will start freezing the budget of USD 132 million in 2024 and another USD 102 million in 2025 – making a total of (more than) 232 million dollars […] we will do that in 2 years. We have prepared a budget for approval […] should the bridge complete first, it would be better for our people to use it. Should the road complete first, and the bridge is not completed yet, the investors would lose […] His Excellency Li Keqiang, the former Chinese Prime Minister, said that in China, incomes from highways are used for small roads construction and maintenance […]

(4) The Belt and Road Initiative benefits as grants, loans, investments

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the One Belt One Road Initiative and the 65th anniversary of Cambodia-China relations. On June 22, at the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, along with His Excellency Wang Wentian, I held a ceremony to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Cambodia is a beneficiary of the Belt and Road Initiative, initiated by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, with 153 countries. Cambodia benefits from this belt and road initiative through grants, loans for infrastructure construction, and investment of large projects. Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone is becoming the largest economic zone and attracting large investors […]

(5) China not only respect Cambodia’s sovereignty, but also Cambodia’s decisions

Overall, the development in Cambodia has been very fruitful. As HE Wang Wentian said, Cambodia does not hesitate to support the Belt and Road Initiative (seeing its significant role) for development, and it neither makes any country an enemy nor stops any country from developing. It has benefited us […] as the Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia, His Excellency Wang Wentian is very busy […] why? You see, this is how Cambodia develops […] the Chinese side will not be disappointed […] we are working always in consultation. The Chinese friends respect Cambodia’s request […] that’s why we work fast together. With others, if we want this one bridge, they wanted that other bridge. If we do not follow their wishes, they do not give us money […] I give high appreciation and respect to our Chinese friends who respect not only Cambodia’s sovereignty, but also Cambodia’s decisions, including those on development projects […]

(6) Never ever exceed the debt ceiling

We know very well which roads are to build first, which are to build later, because our budget is limited. We set a debt ceiling each year of how much to borrow. We are never ever to exceed the ceiling […] the Chinese friend give us the chance to submit our plan annually. Sometimes we had to change priority of the projects submitted. China followed our requests. This is a good point […] two Ministers of Economy and Finance […] know how to save money. (Thanks to their efforts) we dare take USD 232 million to build this bridge […] we had to save money for investment […] without the counterpart fund, even they are projects provided grant by friends, or loans, it would not be possible to start […] for instance, I shared the news on incomes – like in March, if I am not mistaken, of 1 billion USD in the message with members of the Cabinet. I added in the message that – “Despite rising incomes, global economic health is not good. Our income tends to stagnate or decrease. Please do not see that money and make plan to spend it wastefully” […]

(7) Unopulent but generous in hosting SEA Games and Para Games

Should the Chinese friends not provide the USD 150 million (Morodok Techo) stadium we would have difficulty in finding a place to open and close (Sea Games and ASEAN Para Games) […] we do not aim at the medal issue as a priority. We aim at achieving friendly and safety games, and welcoming guests as a big goal. I thank the Organizing Committee, the Heads of State and Government of ASEAN and Timor-Leste for sending more than 10,000 athletes to Cambodia for the SEA Games event. As of now, more than 2,000 Para Games disable athletes are competing in Cambodia. Cambodia has taken care of welfare and the facilities […] to make sure that the accommodation for contestants will be successful. We waived the payment obligation for the competition […] Cambodia is an unopulent country, but it is generous. We maybe poor in money, but our minds are not. Cambodia is small but has a generous heart […] the closing ceremony will be held on June 9. Once all the guests left, it is considered a success for us […]

(8) Hun Sen’s concept – an ASEAN football team, hosting World Cup or Olympics

I have said it already that money can be spent, but the honor, prestige, and dignity of the nation will last for generations to come. Let it be known as the Hun Sen’s style […] Hun Sen has a different point of view. We want to strengthen the unity among the more than 600 million ASEAN people through sports, traditional sports and sports for the disabled. We wanted closer people-to-people contacts through sports […] I imagine that one day ASEAN will have a football team […] China has 1.4 billion people. ASEAN has 600 million people. We can find the best 11 for the match. Cambodia may send two or one to the imagined ASEAN team […] for the time to come, we can bid for hosting the World Cup or even the Olympics. That is the concept for the future. Starting from Cambodia as a model. I hope that countries will join Cambodia’s thinking […]

(9) Should the convict enter Vietnam, please implement the extradition agreement

Let me confirm with the Vietnamese Ambassador to beware of (someone as a convicted person) using a French passport (to enter Vietnam). I have clearly received (information that) someone has had meal with that person […] I am informing the Ambassador (of Vietnam) officially and openly. His (the convicted person’s) plan to get in to Malaysia (had been asked) to leave. He also plans to come to Thailand. He (the convicted person) plans to enter Vietnam by using a French passport as a tourist. If he does enter, I would like (Vietnam) to arrest the person for me because (this person) has an arrest warrant. We have extradition with each other, have we not? It is a legal cooperation. If bad people as such comes (to your country), please catch him for me […]

(10) BM21 for warmongers and rebellion instigators

They quickly blamed me for (threatening to) shoot BM21. How about you announced in 2019 that you would come and arrest the Prime Minister and had the army turn their cannon on the Royal Government? That were the reasons that I had to use BM21. You yourself said it. You have not taken your words out yet. If you do not take that word away, I would still talk about using the BM21. That was my last resort. You came in to make war […] why did Mr. Hun Sen talk about using BM21? The reason is you threaten to stage a coup, you came to make a war, you came to arrest Hun Sen, and you called for the armed forces to shoot Hun Sen. If it is so, you are coming to make war, is it not? If you come to make war, you are to be destroyed […]./.

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The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPTC) is honored to inform members of the public that on 1 February 2024,