Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this joyful occasion, I am greatly delighted and honored to preside over the opening of the Month of Friendship and the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Cambodia and Japan, and the ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year 2003. These are new historical events, among many important events, which would help strengthen and expand the solidarity, friendship and cooperation between our two countries, Cambodia and Japan.
We are now celebrating these historical events, coinciding with our King NORODOM SIHANOUK Birthday, our key traditionalWater Festival and the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence Day (November 9) which is of great historical importance.
On behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia and my own self, I am pleased to convey our warmest congratulation to people and the Royal Government of Japan in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Cambodia and Japan and the ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year 2003. I wish great success to these events, – so that the wishes of our people and our two countries will come true!
Historically, Cambodia and Japan have had a long-standing relationship, which has been gradually strengthened and expanded until the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1953, – thus far it is exactly 50 years!
This friendship has enabled our people and two countries to develop the tradition of mutual respect and support, both in mental and material terms, in the development process, which covers a wide range of areas, including politics, economy, culture, social affairs and religions between our two countries. Our King, His Majesty NORODOM SIHANOUK was the first Asian king to visit Japan. He was greeted and welcomed by Japanese Emperor with great hospitality and sincerity. However, since Cambodia experienced protracted wars since 1970s up to 1990s, the diplomatic relations were interrupted.
In 1993, the diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Japan have been reestablished, closely linked by feelings of solidarity, friendship and cooperation between our two countries. Through cooperation and exchange programs between Cambodia and Japan, those between the Royal Families, the Governments, the Prime Ministers and associations and religious organizations, the friendly solidarity has been further strengthened and expanded.
All these prove that Japan is a rare and exceptional friend of people and government of Cambodia. The Royal Government and people of Japan always help and support Cambodia in all fields and in all circumstances. Thus, Japan and Japanese people is the biggest donor to Cambodia since Paris Agreement. Moreover, the Royal Government and people of Cambodia are proud to notice Japan’s important role in Cambodia’s national reconciliation efforts that successfully ended the prolong wars and brought full peace to the entire Cambodia.
In the rehabilitation and development of Cambodia, Japan has provided substantial financial and technical assistance to Cambodia especially for transportation infrastructure. Specifically, since 1993 Japan has helped build and rehabilitate roads and bridges across the country. Those are durable and quality constructions such as the construction of Chroy Changva Bridge, Road 6A, Phnom Penh Port, Sihanoukvill Port, a scratch of road linked Road 6A to Kampong Cham’s provincial town, Electrical Power Grids, Clean Water Refineries, and other works in education, social affairs, health, Buddhism and in many other areas, all that has enabled Cambodia to restore and develop the nation very quickly and worth to be proud.
Moreover, there was the construction of a new bridge across the Mekong River, that we named it the Great Bridge “Kizuna“, – a great property on Tonle Bet of Kompong Cham. Kizuna means “a relationship of good treatment, great love and respect, tied one person with another or one group with another group of people”. Kizuna represents “a solid friendship between the nations and countries, free of any discrimination in relation to race and religion”. In this sense, this name is very thoughtful, reflecting friendly relationship and long-lasting cooperation between Cambodian and Japanese peoples.
Japan has planned to build another great bridge at Neak Leoung in the near future, which is now under technical and feasibility study, as well as to support other areas of development in Cambodia. All these are clear evidence, showing the generosity and encouragement by the Japanese Government toward the Royal Government of Cambodia, who has been undertaking sound reforms in all sectors, aimed at modernizing and developing the country.
It should be noted that besides assistance from the Japanese Government, the Royal Government of Cambodia has also received other assistance from Japanese NGOs and people, who directly donated to Cambodian people like schools, hospitals, ponds, wells, etc. This has been great contributions to poverty reduction among Cambodian people and we will never forget this generous assistance and support!
As I emphasized earlier, Cambodia and Japan has a long-standing relationship, linked by the feelings of friendship and solidarity between the two countries. Moreover, for Cambodia, what is the most precious are Japanese contributions to the process of bringing about peace, national reconciliation and economic reconstruction after three decades of protracted wars.
Taking opportunity of the presence of H.E. Mr. Gotaro Ogawa, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own, may I request Your Excellency to convey our deepest gratitude and appreciation from the Royal Government and people of Cambodia to the Government and people of Japan, who have provided assistance which has contributed greatly to the building and maintaining of peace and political stability, and the rehabilitation and economic development of Cambodia toward progress and hope in the future. The Royal Government and people of Cambodia highly appreciate and will treasure this invaluable support forever.
In expressing our appreciation and gratitude for the great achievements supported by Japanese people and government, and in strengthening solidarity, friendship, sustained cooperation between Cambodia and Japan, the Royal Government of Cambodia therefore organize the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Cambodia and Japan, and the Year of Exchange between Japan and ASEAN. The chosen date, 29th October 2003, for the opening day of the Month of Cambodia-Japan Friendship will be marked as a happiest event in the “Golden Page of the Cambodia-Japan History”, that would strengthen and enlarge our invaluable solidarity, friendship and cooperation.
Before I end my remarks, again through H.E. Mr. Gotaro Ogawa, Ambassador of Japan to Cambodia, I would like to extend our deep gratitude and best wishes of good health and longevity, from the Royal Government and People of Cambodia to the Emperor, the Government, and the People of Japan.
Finally, may I wish H.E. Gotaro Ogawa, Excellencies Ambassadors of our Friendly Countries, Ladies and Gentlemen with the five gems of Buddhist Blessings.
On behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, may I officially declare the opening of the Month of Friendship between Cambodia and Japan. I wish this Month of Friendship become the long-lasting and sustained relations of friendship between Cambodia and Japan and will bring great successes.