Speech of Samdech Techo Hun Sen in the Meeting to Commemorate the 45th Anniversary of the January-7 Victory Day


Respected Samdech Preah Akka Moha Sangha Rajathipadei, Samdech Preah Sangha Raja, Samdech Preah Raja Kanak, and the Buddhist monks of all ranks,
The Highest Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Cambodia,
Christianity Leaders
Samdech, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Lok Oknha, Neak Oknha, Ladies and Gentlemen, National Distinguished Guests, Representatives of Diplomatic Corps to the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Leaders of Political Parties in the Alliance and the Supreme Consultation and Recommendation Council (SCRC)
Dear Members of the Meeting and all Compatriots,
January-7, 2024, marks the 45th anniversary of the historic victory of the Cambodian people over the genocidal regime of Pol Pot, which gave the Cambodian people their revivals in a timely manner and freed from the most atrocious tortures and killings. The January -7 victory brought back all the rights and freedoms that were completely lost under the Pol Pot regime, ended the Cambodia’s darkest era, and opened a new era of independence, peace, freedom, democracy and social progress. After this historic victory, the Cambodian People’s Party successfully led the country through tens of thousands of obstacles and difficulties in the cause of defending the people’s revivals and rebuilding the nation from ashes until the country had moved out of destruction and to the stage of development in all fields under the shade of peace with the greatest pride.

We are celebrating the 45th anniversary of this historic day in the spirit of always remembering the great crimes committed by the genocidal regime of Pol Pot against the motherland and the people of Cambodia, and always remembering the most grateful acts of the heroic national-solidarity cadres and combatants for the salvation of Kampuchea, and the heroic Vietnamese voluntary army, who fought and sacrificed valiantly to overthrow the genocidal regime of Pol Pot, and to prevent it from returning. At the same time, we would like to pay respects to the souls of the more than three million compatriots who lost their lives in the most suffering and unjust way of this brutal regime, and to dedicate our prayers to your souls to the peaceful world forever.

This year, the January-7 Victory Day is celebrated in a situation where the Kingdom of Cambodia has scored new great achievements in all fields after Cambodia won the battle over the Covid-19 crisis, which allowed us to reopen the country since the late 2021, and has been moving forward with confidence on the path of peace, democracy, rule of law and development.

On this auspicious occasion, we would like to express our deepest respect and gratitude to the most revered His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the most revered Her Majesty Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the Queen Mother of the Khmer Nation in freedom, dignity and happiness, for Their Majesties to stay as cool shades forever for their children and grandchildren to shelter.

The Meeting Participants and Dear Compatriots,
Even though decades have passed, we all will never forget the vicious tragedies and catastrophes that our nation experienced from 1970 to 1978. It should be recalled that the Lon Nol coup d’état of March 18, 1970, wire-pulled by foreigners, destroyed the peace in Cambodia, plunging the country into the flames of war, which devastated the socio-economic sector and killed nearly 1 million Cambodians. With the fall of the Lon Nol regime of the Khmer Republic on April 17, 1975, the Cambodian people hoped to live in independence, peace, freedom, and to rebuild their territory together, had their hopes faded in the blink of an eye because the Pol Pot clique, who seized power entirely, implemented the most brutal genocidal policy that is unprecedented in the history of Cambodia as well as the history of mankind. Under Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea regime, Cambodia was transformed into a wall-less prison and a killing field soaked in the blood and tears of the people. The social and national structure that was badly damaged by the five years of war, had suffered complete destruction, the people’s rights, freedoms, honor and dignity had been completely eradicated, the people had become slaves and been severely tortured and most brutally slaughtered. In just 3 years, 8 months and 20 days, more than three million people were killed in the most unjust way, and the survivors only waited for their turns to be killed. It is certain that the Pol Pot regime pushed the Cambodian motherland and nation to the brink of extinction if there were no timely rescue.

In the worst of circumstances, the purely patriotic forces of the Cambodian People’s Party, who survived the massacre, seceded from the Pol Pot’s regime to fight for national liberation from this vicious regime. On June 20, 1977, I fled to Vietnam to seek support for the national liberation struggle and formed the Cambodian National Solidarity Army for Salvation of Kampuchea (CNSASK) on May 12, 1978, and on May 25, 1978, troops and people throughout the Eastern Zone rose up against the Pol Pot’s regime under the leadership of Samdech Heng Samrin and Samdech Chea Sim, as well as three other opposition forces against Pol Pot. The unification of these five forces provided an opportunity for the formation of the National United Front for the Salvation of Kampuchea (NUFSK) on December 2, 1978, the only political organization of the Cambodian people to lead the struggle to overthrow the genocidal regime. The NUFSK, which has the support of the people throughout the country, and has received large-scale and timely support from the Vietnamese voluntary army, as well as the supports of the forces of peace and justice loving forces in the world, historically overthrew the genocidal regime victoriously on January-7, 1979, which the Cambodians dubbed “their second birthdays.”

After the January-7 victory day, the “People’s Republic of Kampuchea” (PRK), the state of the people and for the people, was established. The state of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea had had to govern the country in a state of peace and war, as well as unjust economic sanctions and political isolation by some external circles. Despite the obstacles and hardships, the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, then renamed the State of Cambodia in 1989, had successfully fulfilled its historical role in the cause of fighting to prevent the return of genocidal regimes to protect the revival of the nation and the cause, while restoring and rebuilding the Cambodian socio-economy from scratch to gradually stable step by step, and has strengthened and expanded in a period of only ten years. The Paris Agreement was signed after years of peace talks, beginning with the initial negotiation between Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and myself on December 2, 1987. The historical achievements scored by the State of Cambodia has created the necessary preconditions and qualifications for Cambodia to continue to move forward on the path of peace, national unity, democracy and development. To fully accomplish the process of seeking peace and national unity in Cambodia, I have successfully launched and led the implementation of a win-win policy that has brought about a complete peace, national unity, and territorial integrity since the end of 1998. The victory of the win-win politics put an end to the wars, national and territorial divisions that Cambodia has gone through for the last 500 years of its history. The peace that Cambodia has achieved on its own and without bloodshed has been laying a solid foundation for Cambodia’s great socio-economic development and democratic process.

The Meeting Participants and Dear Compatriots,
The facts show that for the past 45 years, after the victory over the genocidal regime of Pol Pot, Cambodia has achieved dramatic changes, especially in the last 25 years after Cambodia gains the complete peace. Cambodia, which was once the land of never-ending war and the worst atrocities, has turned into a beautiful land of peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law, whereby the people have mastered their own destiny and are living in peace and harmony in their families, communities and society as a whole. Cambodia, with its socio-economic foundation devastated to the roots, has become a land of sustainable and equitable development in all areas, and has moved from a low-income country to a low-middle-income country status, improving the people’s livelihood, and giving hope for the future. Cambodia, once invaded, insulted, sanctioned and isolated, is now a state of full independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, fully integrated into the region and the world, and has been actively involved in all international affairs on an equal right and footing, raising national prestige on the international arena. At the same time, Cambodia, which is considered by the outside world as a country with poor health, has striven to strengthen the protection of the people’s health and has become one of the leading countries in the world in the fight against Covid-19 disease, thus successfully protecting life of the people.

Particularly, in the recently passed 2023, our people have lived in harmony under the shade of peace, which has been firmly protected and scored numerous major achievements in the development of the society, despite having had to face the complex evolution of the international situation, and to continue to address the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis and other challenges. Cambodia’s economy is recovering rapidly and is on the verge of recovering growth realized before the Covid-19 crisis. The success of the 7th legislature National Assembly election reflects the democratic maturity of Cambodia through the overwhelming participation of the people and the legitimacy of this election.

The CPP’s glorious victory in this election has given the CPP the full opportunity to hand over the leadership to the potential young successors, which the party has educated, trained and prepared very carefully under the applause and warm support from the people. So far, the Royal Government of the 7th legislature of the National Assembly, headed by the Prime Minister, Samdech Moha Borvor Thipadei Hun Manet, is carrying out its duties with the utmost responsibility for the destiny of the nation in order to preserve and grow all national achievements and expedite the momentum towards economic growth, aimed at making Cambodia a high-middle-income country by 2030, and laying the foundation to realize Cambodia’s vision of becoming a high-income country by 2050.

The Meeting Participants and Dear Compatriots,
Through all these historical achievements that we have realized, it is clear that Cambodia has been moving in the right direction, responding to the aspirations of the people and in line with the actual situation in the country and abroad. At the same time, it clearly reflects the participation of Cambodians of all walks of life, all races and all religions, civil servants, the armed forces, youth, workers, farmers, traders, monks, clergy of various religions, intellectuals, investors and progressive circles from all walks of life in society with a deep sense of patriotic conscience for the benefit of the nation.

The success and happiness of the Cambodian people today really stemmed from the January-7 victory. Without the January-7 victory, we really could not have anything like we do today. This is a historical fact.

The January-7 spirit is engraved in the conscience of all Cambodians and has become a force of great national unity to build and defend the heroic homeland, which makes our nation move from one victory to another non-stop. The January-7 spirit has immortal values for our people to move forward to build a Cambodia of independence, peace, freedom, neutrality, democracy and social progress. At the same time, we must all understand clearly that should there be no peace, there can be no development and everything like we do today. Peace is of the highest value, while destroying peace is not difficult. Making peace is very difficult, otherwise, even taking many generations of the human race would not be able to make peace. Therefore, at whatever price it takes, we must unite as one in order to maintain this hard-won peace for a long time to come, that no power can destroy it. In this strong position, the Cambodian People’s Party would like to congratulate and fully support the decision of the Royal Government through the Sub-Decree No. 01, dated January 1, 2024, setting December 29 every year as the “Peace Day in Cambodia,” – the official national holiday in the Kingdom of Cambodia and a public holiday. [I would also like to send a message from here to some people, if you are not satisfied with the holiday on January 7 and December 29, please go to the remaining minefields to test the dangers. If you really are the champion of the anti-January 7 and anti-peace, please try for yourself at the remaining minefields.]

Over the past 45 years, the people have clearly seen the essence and capabilities of the Cambodian People’s Party. The party represents the pure interests of the whole people, the party has always associated with the people, and led the people to overcome all obstacles and difficulties successfully. Certainly, our aspirations have not yet been fully realized. We must go a long way to build our beloved homeland into an advanced country, a civilized and loving society, and without national division, war, and genocide, again as in the past. Time has tested our will and ability already. We will definitely be able to achieve this lofty goal as long as we maintain strong national unity, commitment to ownership and the correct path of leadership. In this spirit, we have confidence in the throng of our young people, who have grown knowledge, morality, and physical fitness, and who are performing their duties vigorously with a deep patriotic conscience as successors holding in hands the future of the nation.

The Meeting Participants and Dear Compatriots,
The next five years are the most important period to strengthen the foundations for sustainable, inclusive, and equitable development, to achieve Cambodia’s medium-term vision by 2030 and long-term by 2050.

In this sense, for the year 2024, the collaborative efforts must be collected to better fulfill the following important directions to:

1. Determine to protect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Cambodia; to maintain peace, political stability, security, order and social security, and to guarantee all rights and freedoms of citizens based on the Constitution and the rule of law in place.

2. Protect the constitutional monarchy, the throne, the most revered HM the King from abuse by anyone.

3. Promote the implementation of the political platform and the Pentagonal Strategy – Phase I of the 7th legislature Royal Government to achieve fruitful results according to the hopes and trust of the people.

4. Continue to maintain macroeconomic stability to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth through keeping inflation at manageable level, and stabilizing the exchange rate, as well as deepening and sharpening reforms.

5. Maintain the balance of people’s livelihoods through the development and strengthening of the social protection system, which includes an effective and sustainable social assistance system and social security system that helps protect all people, especially poor families, vulnerable groups, and vulnerable to risks families from emergencies and crises without leaving any people unattended.

6. Gather the total force of the whole nation to build the country and defend the motherland in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution, to realize the goal of maintaining peace and long-term development, defending independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, defending liberal democracy, pluralism and the rule of law, defending security, social order, and joining efforts to eradicate extremist politics from Cambodia through the implementation of the Agreements on Cooperation and Alliances between political parties, signed one October 27. 2023 by the CPP with 27 other parties, as well as promoting the effective implementation of the mechanism of the Supreme Consultation and Recommendation Council (SCRC).

7. Support the election process of the 5th legislature, and the election of the Capital, Provincial, Municipal, District and Khan Councils of the 4th mandate to be successful, free, fair and just.

8. Continue to promote the implementation of foreign policy based on independence and international law, paying close attention to maintaining and promoting traditional friendly relations, solidarity and cooperation with neighboring countries as well as with partner countries both in and outside the region, and continue active participation for the cause of peace, stability and the fight against global challenges.

The Meeting Participants and Dear Compatriots,
On this solemn occasion, on behalf of Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, Honorary President of the Party, Samdech Moha Borvor Thipadei Hun Manet, the Prime Minister, and the leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party and myself, I would like to express my deepest respect and gratitude to our compatriots at home and abroad, who have provided strong support for the leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party over the past 45 years, enabling the party to successfully fulfill its mission to serve the country. The Cambodian People’s Party will continue to do everything for the peace, progress and happiness of the nation and its people.

On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our friends, near and far, development partners and international organizations, who have supported the just cause of the Cambodian people at all stages, and are continuing to strengthen and expand fruitful relations and cooperation with the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Finally, I am extending my best wishes to the revered Samdech Preah Sangha Raja, the revered Buddhist monks, and to Samdech, His Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, members of the meeting, and our compatriots everywhere with the five Buddhish blessings. Thank You!