Sihanoukville – a Multi-purpose Province to Lead Cambodia’s Economic Growth
Today, we come together to celebrate the inauguration of the infrastructural achievements, which include 37 roads and two wastewater treatment plants. What HE Chea Sophara just said is enough to understand that what we have built here were not just for the people here. Radio and television stations, as well as online media, now broadcast images to people across the country and to Cambodians living abroad. We are proud that we have decided to build this great achievement and for the first time we have made direct investment of more than 300 million US dollars in this city. This work was necessary. There are tall buildings in the vision but down beneath, the road infrastructures are all dilapidated. We make the decision to invest and guarantee for the next 20 to 30 years […] in this meaning that we need to invest heavily in infrastructure in Sihanoukville with an aim to build it into a multi-purpose province, which will lead to Cambodia’s economic growth.
More Constructions for the Province Associated with the King Father’s Name
The province is also associated with the name of the Father of the Nation, Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Preah Borom Ratanakaod. Although he passed away, his name is still associated with the land he worked so hard to build (and everything) in the province, including the deep-sea port. We all benefited from the development of that time. Now we are together to build this one city. I still have sad memory after the fall of the Pol Pot regime to see life in Sihanoukville. At that time, even though I was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I was assigned to be the Chairman of the Committee for the Transportation of freight from Sihanoukville Port. We called it Kampong Som province then. Life was difficult. We had a small Kohler engine (used to generate electricity) and ran out of gas. There was no running water. The situation was not like what it is today.
Infrastructural Development: Roads and Wastewater Treatment Systems
Today, Sihanoukville has changed a lot. Dozens of high-rise buildings abound in this city. It requires us to build strong infrastructure, not only roads, but also we have set up relevant system as HE Chea Sophara mentioned […] with drainage along all the roads and connection to the wastewater treatment plants before it dumped water into the sea. Yesterday I also went (to up the hilly area) and saw how the treatment processes dirty water coming out of people’s houses (and) the last processing stage before it pours into the sea. The water quality was good enough to raise fish […] there is on some side the seawater that people cannot irrigate crops. On the other side, there is supply of clean water. It is a waste if we use clean water to irrigate crops. We save clean water to serve the needs of life. People can irrigate their crops with water in the last-stage water treatment process if there is a need and they do not have to pay for it too.
Hopefully Reopening Will Increase National Incomes
… This is a large-scale investment and we plan to invest elsewhere too. We are now making investment in Siem Reap. As I said before, our efforts for direct investments met with interruption caused by COVID-19. So far, we have spent about US$ 2.5 billion to save the people in the COVID-19 phase. Without COVID-19 … so far I estimate that our savings are not less than US$ 5 billion. COVID-19 not only stops but also reduces our savings.
We hope that after the reopening of the country, the national income will increase significantly, in cities, ports, and customs department, because the domestic demand goes up and requires more imports. Previously, we had taken measures to prevent COVID-19. Now, after we have vaccinated more than 88% of our people, we have a chance to reopen activities. In Kampong Som, karaoke, discotheques and bars have not reopened yet, but in Phnom Penh, more than 70 karaoke and bars are reportedly open […]
Infrastructural Construction of Sihanoukville Is Entirely the Work of Cambodians
I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to HE Chea Sophara and his colleagues for their hard works during the construction phase here. The construction here requires careful scrutiny, as this is entirely the work of Cambodian children, without any technical or financial assistance from abroad. We have built many by ourselves, such as the Peace Palace, the National Assembly building and other institutions. We do not use foreign technicians. Many people asked me which country help design the Peace Palace. I told them our ancestors back then could build Angkor Wat, we can at least built this much.
This is the pride of the Khmer nation. The Cambodians have invested and built everything here. There is a small section that Vinci Company helps pay for the connection road from the airport, but technically it is not involved. We do it all. I thank the leaders who led this work sites. My appreciation goes to the Board of Governors, government officials as well as the people of Sihanoukville for providing good cooperation for the success of the project. The real beneficiaries of this success are the people in Sihanoukville […]
“Cambodians Can Do It” – a Nationwide Journey
I am very proud of the cooperation provided by the people living in Sihanoukville for this great project. We can say that it is one ambitious project. This ambition goes well with what our people need. I would also like to thank the nine (engineering) units and companies that built this road. My heartfelt appreciation goes to workers who have participated in building this road. It is a source of pride for our nation and for that I say – “we Cambodians can do it.”
Yesterday, I clarified the meaning of the word “Cambodians Can Do It.” It does not refer to the development in Sihanoukville alone. Cambodians can do things for thousands of years now. Cambodians built temples all over the country and the most prominent ones are Angkor Wat, Preah Vihear, Sambor Prey Kuk, Koh Ker, etc. There are temples everywhere. We Khmer can do it. The pre-war stage of 1970, under the leadership of His Majesty the King Father, we built the stadium, a great pride at that time […] when we were young, we were proud to have a stadium that is still in use today. We have a bridge across the Tonle Sap, we have a bridge over the Bassac River. Thus, the word “Cambodians Can Do It” refers to the whole national journey from the beginning until now, and I hope that Cambodia can continue (to do more) in the future through our work.
Some Foreign Aid: “100 Given, 80 Taken” Through “Technical Assistance”
We will reduce greatly what they mean by technical assistance. This is hard for us to say. We cannot let it go without saying it though. Some projects did not happen even after two years of study. As for our project, we completed it in less than two years – from November 2019 to April 2021. (If it were built with foreign aid), we would have used the amount of loan for consultants from abroad. They would take back a large amount of money. In this reason, we tried whenever we can to invest by ourselves […]
They would use the term technical assistance. That is why I brought it up at the United Nations about “100 is given and 80 is taken back” through provision of technicians. Sometimes, if I may say, what they had offered were just to solve the needs for jobs of their people. We were recipients of only the figures. There were little results … a few years ago, as I was too frustrated, I almost did not take it at all […]
Own Savings for Infrastructural Developments
That is why I work hard with the Ministry of Economy and Finance to save money. We do not take this savings anywhere. Our goal is infrastructural development. Although we have to get external credit, we have to have a counterpart fund. What I wanted to do is like this. We owe no one a dollar. We just get it done at once. Started gathering all (engineering) units and get the construction sites going day and night … sometimes as a poor country, our voice is weak. It is a good thing though if we do not speak out. With every efforts we made, both nationally and sub-nationally, as well as the people, companies and construction units, we have finally achieved our goal.
November Revenue Higher, Economic Growth Will Pick Up
I looked at the figures reported by (Minister of Tourism) HE Thong Khon from the time of Pchum festivities and the consecutives Royal Water Festival, Sihanoukville is the leading province in tourists’ arrival. The second province to have received many is Siem Reap. Sihanoukville ranks top. Previously the tourists’ arrival declined. I think Cambodian people will visit Sihanoukville to see the roads, the bridges, and the construction sites. Today, the governors of other provinces also came. They wanted the development for their provinces too. However, do not ask me for money yet because we are still fighting COVID-19. Indeed, revenue in November increased compared to the previous month. I believe this increase will continue. It will not slow down. Our economic growth will pick up.
Consider PCR Testing in Place of Banning Travelers
Although (there is a new virus variant) omicron … although it came, let us not panic. Please do not panic and lose control. Now South Africa itself confirmed that it does not seem to be that threatening. Notices everywhere seemed to be intimidating people. We must also be careful though. As we discussed, with (Minister of Health) His Excellency Mam Bunheng, I tended to have agreed with remarks of the Secretary-General of the United Nations when countries seemed to have cut off and isolate those countries in Africa. UN Secretary-General expresses regret and proposed alternative measures by increasing testing. We also impose bans on 10 countries in Africa […] it is not the right at all to leave Africa in isolation. For us, we have no direct flights from Africa. Therefore, there is no need to specify.
We may have a different requirement instead. People traveling from those countries should increase their testing even if they have full vaccination. We apologize to them so that we can get a PCR test, rather than banning them. The ban on these 10 countries (and instead) should be reconsidered with measures to strengthen the testing of people from that region. We would like to do (test by) PCR. Not a rapid test. I think that in doing so, we are not isolating and discriminating against those African countries […] I did approved, but we can also rectify. Please discuss with (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance) His Excellency Aun Porn Moniroth on this work. If we have an agreement, we declare ending (the 10-nation ban on flights from Africa) […]
National Revenue Increase, More Investments Continue
Let us not be too daring and not too scared. The level we have been doing is enough. What we needed is the strengthening of health measures. We have had remarks by the World Health Organization, as well as the guests who come to our country, that our people have been wearing masks traveling in the streets. We are proud of this is a point. Based on this, I believe that our economic growth will start. The size of the national income that has fallen in the past will increase again. We would be able to make our savings. It will also increase again. Then we have more opportunities to invest here and there. Some places need 100 million US dollars and some places need 20 to 30 million US dollars. We will channel the money in. There would be no heck about. Sometimes, with foreign donation, a project of only 5 million US dollars did not go anywhere. Took a long time. Giving money to us is hard and difficult, but even harder for us who wait to receive the money […]
Repay Gratitude When We Can and When Friends Are in Difficulties
The other day, I was insulted when I handed over to Laos 13 million US dollars in cash, both public and private, plus 500,000 doses of vaccine, and three trucks. (Out of the) thirty (more trucks we) on purchase order, I promised 10 for Laos. Let us send them the vaccine. Send Laos both the vaccine and the trucks at once. (Those to officiate the handover) then take a helicopter ride. Bring the trucks and vaccines to them and the Laotian drivers can just take them from there. Just hand them the truck keys. Fill up the truck fuel tanks. Do not let them run out of gas.
Some blamed us for providing aid to foreign countries. Let me tell you this is how Cambodia repay gratitude. Cambodia’s most difficult time was in 1979. Laos was in difficult state too. Vietnam was also in a hard time. (From) Vietnam, we saw this movement where people packed for us Cambodian half a kilo or a kilo of rice, seasoned beetroot and salt (when we came out of Pol Pot’s regime). As for Laos, through the visit of President Sophanuvong, although Laos faced difficulties, Laos shared what they had with our people at that stage. This is the heartfelt spirit needed to record and we reciprocate when we can and when friends are in difficulties. I cannot forget their heartfelt generosity and I am not a person without virtuousness.
They have gone around interviewing people. Maybe we should find them (and if they) lack rice, we just give them some to eat. All they said was that people do not have enough to eat and why give to others. At the time when Laotians or Vietnamese did not have enough food, but they came to help us, why could we not help our friends when they had difficulties. We provided some assistances to Vietnam. We donated vaccines and cash to Vietnam. We helped Laos more because Laos is in a lot more difficulties […]
That was not all that Cambodia did. Cambodia has sent thousands of troops to help countries in Africa – South Sudan, Mali, Central Africa and Lebanon, even more so before, in Chad, Cyprus … Cambodia dare that much to express its willingness to help friends. China or Vietnam or Japan, their people are having difficulties but still they give us. For friends who gave what they could to us, you may ask if all those countries have no poor people. They still do. However, they share with us. When we have the ability, we also share with others. It is unbelievably unimaginable that you blame me every time Cambodia helps friends […]
Historic Events in December
I am proud that today we held the inauguration ceremony of the achievements in Sihanoukville … for me, on this particular day, there are three important events to remind us all.
The first is the event on December 2, the 43rd anniversary of the founding of the National United Front for Salvation of Kampuchea. In those days, I am not alone, but people all over the country looked forward to the presence of political and military forces to liberate the country from the Pol Pot regime.
Secondly, also on December 2, the 34th anniversary of the negotiations between Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and me. It was called the Sihanouk-Hun Sen Forum. As it has come to the 34th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, we also celebrated the 30th anniversary. The negotiations began on December 2, 1987. (This event occurred) up to 4 years before the signing of the Paris Agreement. What does this really mean? I hope those who interpret the Paris Agreement understand more, learn more about the history of the story that led to the Paris Agreement. His Majesty the King Father accepted me as a partner in negotiations between Cambodians and Cambodians. It is now 34 years. Four years before the Paris Agreement.
Thirdly, December 2 also marks the 23rd anniversary of the launch of the Triangle Strategy December 2, 1998.
In the month of December, there are many remarkable things. December is the month in which we ended the war, bringing national unity and territorial integrity. It is also the 23rd anniversary. There is one more important thing that I would like to present today. I also received a wedding invitation in December, but I cannot remember exactly the date. It could be any one on 28th, 29th or 30th. I got married on the 5 January 1976. From (December) 1975 to now, it is 46 years […]
Three Angles of the Triangle Strategy
On December 2, 1998, I could not sleep for the first cabinet meeting. I remember writing it in a booklet that I keep to today about the triangular strategy. I should say a little about the triangle strategy. Before we have come to the current rectangular strategy, there was this triangular strategy. It was not long. It was a presentation in the Cabinet meeting and we all were implementing it. The first angle of the triangle strategy is internal pacification, which means we need to strengthen the peace we have achieved. At that time, Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea and others had not reported themselves yet. It was 27 days after the official announcement of the triangular strategy that that they all came […]
The second angle is to integrate Cambodia as soon as possible into the international community. At that time, when the conflict broke out in the country, the UN seat was suspended. A week later, we did what were necessary to get back the seat at the United Nations, to move on to ASEAN and other organizations such as the World Trade Organization […] we went all the way. To ASEAN, Asia-Europe, or generally speaking, every organizations we needed to join. We were not concerned about paying because it is our right. We have one vote. All the countries that want our support come and negotiate with us.
What is the third angle? Combining on the favorable factors of the domestic and international situations or the first angle and the second angle, the third angle is to concentrate efforts for socio-economic development, poverty reduction. The Triangle Strategy has three main points by which we started to emerge as a nation and move forward so far.
The Booster Dose Given, More Than 10 Million Doses in Stock
[…] I would like to take this opportunity to call on all citizens to continue to participate in efforts to prevent COVID-19. We now have just over 20 infections a day, and about 4 or 5 deaths a day. It is still sad but compared to the past we have decreased a lot. Compared to the countries bordering us, Vietnam last night reached more than 14,000 cases and died as many as one hundred and ninety. Not much recorded in Thailand. Laos, the infection case was like more than a thousand, and five or six people died. We have had full vaccination and need to continue with the third dose … in between 4 to 6 months after the two basic vaccinations. There is no shortage of vaccines. About 10 million doses are in store and more will come.
Cambodian and Japanese Governments Support Cambodian Vaccine Manufacturers
Yesterday I met with the Prime Minister of Japan. Japan already gave us one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, but the Prime Minister said Japan would give us another 300,000 doses. He added that he would continue to look for funding for us to manage COVID-19. On another front, by signing the agreement between companies, with the supports of the governments of the two countries, we have obtained the right to produce the vaccine in our own country. This enables us to purchase the vaccine as a finished product for domestic use. Companies can also export abroad. We do not know when this pandemic will end. We are not just looking to buy, we are asking our Chinese friends to share the vaccine production into a finished product. They have done it in Indonesia. In Thailand, they have done it with AstraZeneca. In Indonesia, it is Sinovac. We will be making Sinovac as we use it every day.
Vaccines Really Save Lives
At the Asia-Europe Meeting, the Chancellor of Austria, after locking down the country again, said […] people protested against the vaccination. There are groups of people who refuse to wear masks, to vaccinate, etc. Now countries seem to be doing it all together. Without vaccination, no stores allowed entrances. What is it? A violation of rights? Previously, I just signed a sub-decree on obligatory vaccines for civil servants and the armed forces, some criticized me. Now the world has obliged. No injection, no entrances. Therefore, people have to find a place for vaccination … in ministries, no vaccination no works. They cut their salaries. Is it a violation of human rights?
For our country, people flocked for vaccines when there is. The most lovable thing is that kids from five to 12 years are quite brave for injection […] that is the pride in our country. There is no need for demonstrations to demand anything. Yes, there is a movement against vaccination, but (people see that the movement was) not their lives. We love our lives. What could be wrong when we went for the vaccine? Now, finally, as we can see, vaccines have saved lives.
ASEAN Consensus – 10 Member Countries
[…] I am thinking that in the months from January onward, I could be traveling abroad on many occasions. The explosion occurred breakouts of pandemic too. Those travels would include the need to attend the World Economic Forum as Europe is in tough pandemic breakout, and on the way back, I will attend the World Expo Forum in Dubai, Arab Emirates. Locally, we know exactly how to protect ourselves. Going outside of the country, while they also have protection, we must take extra care. The United States intends, it seemed, to hold the ASEAN-US Summit. Now in discussion. It may not be easy for ASEAN leaders in January. Previously, the American side seemed to want it in mid-January. In mid-January, one of the ASEAN leaders or the ASEAN chair is in Davos. If there is a meeting in the United States, the President of the United States and I will co-chair the meeting, because Cambodia will be chairing ASEAN at that time. I will be examining that.
Yesterday, in talked with the Prime Minister of Japan and then with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, I raised this issue with them what status of ASEAN should we keep – ASEAN 9 or ASEAN 10? Recently, there were only ASEAN 9 meetings. This is the problem. Are we willing to destroy our own home to please our partners? Here are the questions to ask. Not to compare ASEAN with the United Nations about now neither side has taken the floor at the United Nations. No, that is not it. At the United Nations, there is this credential commission, but there is not in ASEAN. The most important point is consensus. If it is a consensus, there must be 10 countries members. What to do if there are only nine countries? To clear this matter, on December 6-7, the next few days, the inviting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar will come to Cambodia, and then I will talk.
Prepared to Travel to Myanmar as Cambodian Prime Minister
I am ready to travel to Myanmar without any preconditions. I am going there in my capacity as the Prime Minister of Cambodia. What does ASEAN think? Well, I went as the Prime Minister of Cambodia. I have not acted (as chair of ASEAN) at this time. (It will start on) January 1. The hammer is here but it is not time to use it yet. If there are only nine ASEAN countries, why is it called ASEAN? ASEAN needs to have a consensus. Consensus is of 10 countries members. The ASEAN Charter does not require expulsion of any member. This is some of the thoughts of the future ASEAN chair.
In a few days, the ASEAN chair will have to take action. Should we strengthen our own house with ten pillars? Now one of the pillars breaks. Do we have to leave it to satisfy external partners or have to prepare own house? If the house itself is not in order, what could anyone call unity in ASEAN or the center of ASEAN? This issue I raised with the Prime Minister of Japan and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia. I spoke frankly with the Indonesian Foreign Minister that I had been a negotiating person for the rest of my life. Whatever they placed on the table was not very much it. They just put it there for seal. Instead, they worked under the table. Once they have agreement, they placed on the table for seal […]
Being in Power Have Power
Some analysts say that Hun Sen did this to strengthen his power. Okay. There never was a thing that being in power and never strengthened it. Let us be clear. They always came out and said that Mr. Hun Sen did it to strengthen his power. Let me tell you, I do not make enemies with the power […]. If in power but has no power, let me ask you what s/he stay in power for? […] for example, I commanded order on inundated land grabbing in the Tonle Sap lake area, if anyone resists and does not confess, they will meet with handcuff immediately. That is power. If you do not have power, what can you do to strengthen it? They went on to say that (I not only) strengthen my power but also are ready to strengthen one for my children. If my children are capable (why do I not allow them? or shall I) leave it to you? […]
Whatever you wanted to say, just say. The more you say, the more I strengthen (my power base). “Mr. Hun Sen did this to strengthen his power,” “to vaccinate also to strengthen his power.” If the people voluntarily accepting vaccinations and loving the person (in power) who provided the interest of protecting their lives, and they voted for him again, it is a matter of normal empowerment.
Wherever there was a breakup, they blamed me. Their ways of analyzing things has always taken the trend of blaming Hun Sen for anything and everything. I do not understand that point. The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) had been facing a split since 1979-80. More than 40 years ago. The CPP refused to split. What could they do to the CPP? However, those people faced with internal divisions themselves. Why blame others? […] whatever happened you blamed Hun Sen. He is quite mighty to split you cause division among you. I do not care if you are together or divided […] CPP did not intervene in the analysis […]
Those Blamed Empowered, Demanding Empowerment
[…] Even calling on the provinces to pay attention to the health of the elderly this winter, Sihanoukville has done a lot, Phnom Penh has done a lot, and distributed winter coats and blankets to the elderly, “this was done in effort to consolidate power” they said. If giving them make them happy and love us, our power will increase accordingly. How silly to leave those elderly freeze to death and refuse to look after them. They blamed me for strengthening power base when we vaccinate people against the pandemic and distribute the coats among the army, which is the duty of the Prime Minister. Now let us be clear, if the Prime Minister does not consolidate power, s/he is not the Prime Minister, go and ask the world. Some countries amend their constitutions to strengthen power, how can they do that? NGOs in Phnom Penh will soon come up (and interpret on topic of) Mr. Hun Sen acknowledged (he) is consolidating power. On the contrary, those who are saying that we are amassing power are in fact demanding for power themselves so that NGOs have the right to do this or that and even to amend the NGO law. They demanded to strengthen their power, but they blamed us for strengthening power.
Hun Manet, One of the Candidates for the Post of Prime Minister
[…] You talked about my children. I announce it today. (I) support my son to continue (to run for the post of/) as Prime Minister, but not in any way out of the election. There must be elections. Let me be specific today. We provided with education not to let them be thieves. Even the Japanese have their own breed (for politics) […] (in fact) I wanted (my children) to break up (from politics), but you are forcing me. I must announce it. Hun Manet is one among many other candidates for the post of Prime Minister and his father supports his candidacy […] that you insulted my son Hun Manet as “Le Duc Tho’s son” will not let you get away with it […]
Total Investment in Sihanoukville Was US$ 324 Million
Please note that here are 533 security cameras here in Sihanoukville. Do not commit acts of vandalism or robbery. Sihanoukville is a city with the most cameras. Light bulbs are also smart […]. When there are no cars passing through, it is fading. They consume less power. When the car arrives, the bulbs, made locally by Minebea, the Japanese company, lights up. I will meet the company representative on December 17. The Royal Government was actually convening the Cabinet meeting on 17 December. Since I have to meet with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, plus the Minebea representative, I have asked Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers HE Bin Chhin to convene the meeting on 16 of December instead. The budget we invested here is not small. The amount (is quite big for a country) that we think is poor. Of the 324 million USD, 310 was from the state budget […] and on December 15, I will inaugurate Chip Mong’s American Hyatt hotel. That shall be another indication that Cambodia is starting to open up its tourism economy […]
Consolidating Power Base for Next Generation
It is clear that Hun Sen will continue to consolidate power base for the next generation. My son cannot do it alone. It will be a whole team set […] with many young officials. There never was anyone leading the country alone. The story about Hun Manet is clear today. Hun Manet is one of the candidates for the post of Prime Minister with the support of his father […] my son has to do good deeds to step on to the job to leave no room for insults […]. Hun Manet has to run (competing) with children (of those in the opposition) because our country, a liberal, multi-party democracy, cannot come to power without elections […]
No More Talks about Ream Seaport
Once again, thank you for joining today from all provinces and stakeholders to embrace such a national achievement. Although these achievements are born in this land, this region, but they are national achievements. They will help drive the country’s economic growth. I will not talk about Ream seaport anymore. Stop talking. I told (Samdech Pichey Sena) Tea Banh to stop talking. Anyone who asks for a visit, he also does not have to give permission. Ream Seaport is not a place of thieves and robbers. Whatever you may say. We let you in and see with your own eyes and you are not satisfied. That place is not for you to check. What role are you playing? I let you visit. What is a visit? It is different from an inspection or a search. Let them know the difference […]./.