Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, conversation with workers and the official inauguration of a tire factory to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the belt and road initiative in Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone [Unofficial Translation]


(1) Talk to workers, exhibition of achievements, inauguration of tire factory

[…] We do three things together today – firstly, a get-together with workers, secondly, a visit to the Achievement Exhibition here, and thirdly, the inauguration of a tire factory to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the belt and road initiative in the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone. I started by visiting the workers […] and also want to provide more of the workers’ needs that have not been addressed […] pregnant and postpartum women, here regarding female workers, receive three months’ paid leave. In the past, when I visited the factories, there was no such situation. At that time, it was like giving three months leave, but there was no salary. Now you will get the three months leave with 120% salary […]

(2) In 2021 and 2022, in Covid-19 time, workers still receive salary increase

Due to the situation of Covid-19, civil servants and the armed forces throughout the country, in 2021 and 2022, did not receive a salary increase. But for workers across the country, we saw to it that they got increase. Although the increase was small, we did give them the increase. So far, their basic salary has reached 200 US dollars plus […] in the beginning, our workers only got more than 40 US dollars […] as Covid-19 erupted, factories were suspended, the government took immediate action asking the factories owners to help pay US$ 30/month and the government provided US$ 40/month (to workers of suspended factories). Our workers stayed at home and receive a stipend of US$ 70 per month. Now that we have put the Covid-19 under control […] we have reopened the factories. Of course, some factories closed because of this/that matter […]

(3) In the future, with social equity card (SEC), pregnant women will have free medical check-ups and allowances

Today, I want to announce more policy framework for pregnant (female) workers. Although you have a social equity card (SEC), under the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training. We have a program being implemented by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans, so far for 495,149 women families. We have already spent 105 billion Riel. I think we can do more as it will not collapse the Cambodian economy […] now you have a health insurance card. They do not take money. When I announced (the policy,) when the person goes for a health check, she will be paid four times before giving birth. When the time comes for delivery, we are providing a package of budget and then two years later, it means a mother will go for medical check 10 times until the child is 2 years old. They will get paid every time they go for checkup […]

(4) Making times to meet workers after Covid-19

There are analysts who say that Mr. Hun Sen did not make time meet the workers. That meant he changed the strategy from meeting the workers to sit and wait to receive the surrender (from other parties). That naughty boy said that Mr. Hun Sen did not dare to meet the workers for the concern that the workers would demand for EBA and GSP. (Look) today I met more than 24,000 people […] because (Hun) Manet has been too busy lately. Sometimes on one day he was in the northern province and another day in the southern province […] I can adjust some time to meet the workers. It does not mean that I meet with workers only before the election. It is obligatory to examine our wokrers’condition after Covid-19. I can share sometimes […] as far as I know, in the cabinet, someone has arrived (for this event) but did not dare to enter (because he has got Covid-19). He returned to Phnom Penh. Samdech Krala Hom Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister, has just recovered […]

(5) Only the CPP has the ability to protect your rice pots

[…] Everything works normally with peace and development. You have a job to do and now we are implementing a pension for workers. It is a specific policy, not a quick and dirty policies. As of now, some have bid and promise people of so and so salary […] please do not forget that the workers and the factory owners are complementing each other. Should the factory owner close the factory, you would be unemployed. If the factory owners have no workers, it will not work […] I could be considered as a midwife in the establishment of this SEZ, which we celebrated the groundbreaking in 2008. Later, with the Government of the People’s Republic of China, we signed in responsible for supporting this SEZ […] I always take care of this special economic zone, strengthen this special economic zone to become a potential attractive area and work to solve products for export, including to China itself […] once you maintain peace, you always have a job. The CPP has the ability to protect the peace. Only the CPP has the ability to protect your rice pots. No country develops in a state of war […]

(6) No supernatural power can break the Cambodian-Chinese relationship

On the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Cambodia-China Friendship and on the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, to which the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone contributes as part of that initiative […] President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China has dubbed Cambodia “Steel Friend”. This is a fact that no supernatural force can break this unity […] why is Cambodia, among the 150 countries and international organizations, has signed cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road (Initiative) […] it is because this is in line with Cambodia’s policy from beginning to end. There are many initiatives within the Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific framework. In every initiative, there are three points required by Cambodia […] firstly, if you wanted support, the project must serve peace and development. Secondly, do not oppose any country, and thirdly, respect the ASEAN centrality […]

(7) Benefits of the Belt and Road Initiative

How has our support benefited Cambodia? Talk about the SEA Games, which we just successfully completed. Without the Belt and Road Initiative, we would not have had enough basis to compete in the SEA Games […] there is a highway connecting us (between Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanoukville, let alone the SEZ) […] the new airport at Siem Reap, which has just completed its test landing, and in October perhaps, the Siem Reap Airport will receive a large-scale landing. Other projects, including the Kampong Som-Hong Kong submarine cable internet connection project, […] whereas grants and loans to develop projects such as roads, bridges across the Mekong, Sekong, Tonle Sap, Tonle Bassac and more already in use and under construction […] I thank the Chinese friend who (gave) priority in providing raw materials from China to Cambodia, responding to my request made while I inaugurated the road in Veal Veng (Pursat). Our country is struggling […] if China does not sell raw materials to Cambodia, efforts to build factories in our country will not make sense […]

(8) Not blocking or being hostile to other countries makes the Belt / Road Initiative grow

Countries are well within the framework of win-win cooperation to build peace in the region and the world. China has been playing an active role in this regard. Looking at China’s politics at the moment, there is no declaration of enmity with any country. Although others have found a way to prevent or oppose China, but China has never set out a policy of obstruction or hostility to any country. That is why the belt and road initiatives is growing. As you know, the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) has entered into force, including ASEAN 10 plus China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It is part of the policy of regional cooperation that China has a role to play. The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is also a Chinese initiative by which Cambodia is a co-founder. The role of the BRICS, which includes China, India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa, is moving forward. Drawing an analysis from this, […] I see this as part of the Belt and Road Initiative and the recently launched global development initiative […]

(9) If I am not allowed to rely on China or Japan, who should I rely on?

Xi Jinping and I agreed, as HE Wang Wentian said, that diamond cooperation is aimed at political cooperation, quality and capacity, agricultural production, energy, security, people-to-people exchanges, industrial and technological development. Here, our place (special economic zone) is a place for industrial and technological development. The goal is exactly here. In another corridor, the diamond cooperation is fish and rice, which I will put four provinces – Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Pailin into the fourth economic pole […] you may raise the question that at the most difficult time (of Covid-19 outbreak,) if it were without the Chinese vaccine, what vaccine would you have? And how many of us would die?

To a question in an online conference on the future of Asia, the moderator asked me, “Do Your Excellency not think you may be too close to China?” “If I did not rely on China, who should I rely on?” I honestly responded […] if others want (me to say the same as I said about China, they may) do as China. If I do not depend on that country, who should I rely on? For example, (if they are to) build five bridges across the Mekong River, I would say the same. Like the Tsebasa Bridge in Neak Leung. I said if you do not let me rely on Japan, whom do you want me to rely on […] do not be jealous that Mr. Hun Sen is close to China. You hurt me. I do not know what to do with that. You always slap me […] (you) ask why do I like China? Well, to be your friend is way so difficult. China asked me to be her friend […]

(10) If you do not understand about Ream on land, Cambodia does not understand submarines with or without nuclear under water

[…] If you do not believe me, I do not believe you. It is not your only right. It is my right too […] at the ASEAN meeting, I made it clear. Every day, you talk only about Ream. I told you that Ream is on land, but what we are struggling with is underwater, is it (a) nuclear(submarine) or not (we cannot know)? […] I have said that this nuclear-powered submarine story is the starting point, if it is not a danger to ASEAN, it is the starting point of the arms race in the region […] that is the idea of Cambodia […] I explain to you (about Ream that is) on land, and you do not get it. How can I understand (about your submarine) in the water? […]

(11) CPP Government – new of old team – will attend the third meeting of BEI in October

I have said this not because I stand in front of China (diplomat). China never tells Cambodia to do whatever it wants. Wang Wentian never came to tell Cambodia or forbade (Cambodia) to do this, to do that. Cambodia does not accept that. Even His Excellency Xi Jinping never told us not to contact this/that country. That is Cambodia’s independent politics. Some said Cambodia is a Chinese puppet, a Vietnamese puppet. You say whatever you want but in practice, Cambodia practices independent politics based on the law. This is an aspect that I would like to emphasize […] in October, there will be a third meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative. Maybe the end of August or the beginning of September Cambodia will form a government. There could be a new team of government or the same old team, we do not know yet. However, it will still be the CPP government […]

(12) Hold on to peace, do not let go, it is our peace

Hope you all vote for the CPP. What is certain is that you do not have to worry about running in displacement. Peace is in your hands and cannot be destroyed. The day before, they came out to warn (about going in the street). They did not register. While no one knows what is what, they called for people to be ready for the demonstration […] without wasting time, I picked up the phone and sent out a message through telegram telling (concerned authority to get ready to) arrest their leaders at national and sub-national level as long as they dare to come out and destroy (order). At that time, the SEA Games was in full swing. It was bad to create that story. A day later, a leader said he had done something wrong and issued a statement. If I did not warn them, then they would not make (apologetic statement). Let us keep the peace. Peace is not an enemy to anyone, but it belongs to us […]

(13) Cambodia to process existing raw material and to have high-tech industry

[…] What is Cambodia’s industrial policy? […] there are two main goals. The first goal is to process products from raw materials that Cambodia has. You came to build a factory to process car tires while Cambodia has rubber. That is the right thing to do. Cambodia wants the industry to process existing raw materials such as rubber, cashew, rice, other products […] the second goal is to invest in high technology […] please attract those who have investments in both directions […]

(14) Foreigners apply double standards to Cambodia but do not dare to talk about Thailand

We hope that our friends will respect the decisions of the Cambodian people for the sake of peace of the Cambodian people. They must respect the choices of the Cambodian people. It is not your story. It is Cambodia’s internal story. Let Cambodia find the solution. I sometimes rebuke it too. You came to talk only to me (about my issue), but you never went to talk to the Thais to let Thaksin and Yingluck – victims of the coup – to enter the country. Never went to fight the Thai government or to shout at the Thai government to let those people return to the countries. I apologize that a new Thai government is being formed after the election, but I would like to take this opportunity to speak (something comparing to Cambodia). They apply double standards and put pressure only on Cambodia to do things, but dare not do it to the strong […]

(15) No pardon because while holding hands you stepped on my foot

[…] You came talk to me to do like this for this person or for that person. In the end, I got back to them. The person has to serve a jail time because you all love that person too much. Visit him at the house. Take that person to the embassy for a meeting while the person was under investigation about collusion with foreigners […] if Hun Sen wants to do it, Hun Sen can do it, but Hun Sen does not trust you. You have not been fair. You hold my hands while your foot steps on mine. You come to work with me, then you go to meet others. Was it that I did not know? I am not a child sucking fingers. With all of this, Hun Sen does not propose a pardon for you, and what would you do on me? […]

(16) Jiang Zemin, 1996: “His Excellency Hun Sen is an old friend of China” […] I always tell my colleagues not to shake hands while stepping on others’ foot, both in either domestic or international framework, for instance, in dealing with mainland China, one must not in contact with Taiwan as a country. The one-China policy must be clear. That is Hun Sen’s foreign policy since Hun Sen became Minister of Foreign Affairs at the age of 27 in 1979. There had been many suggesting that I should have contact with Taiwan. That’s not happening. That is why when I met with His Excellency Jiang Zemin in 1996, he said, “His Excellency Hun Sen is an old friend of China.” I understand that the old friend of China word refers to the implementation of the one-China policy from beginning to end […]./.