– H.E. Margaret Adamson, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia
– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today it is my great honor and pleasure to join you all at the Maritime Security Seminar which is organized by the cooperation between the Ministry of National Defense of Cambodia and Australia. This is a new evidence that clearly reflects new initiatives in partnership between Cambodia and Australia on maritime security and cooperation in many other areas as well.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my warmest welcome and deepest gratitude to H.E. Margaret Adamson, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, for her attention and effort in supporting this important “Maritime Security Seminar”.
I would like to convey my pride and appreciation for this seminar which centers on general state of Cambodian maritime security in order to identify strength and weakness as well as obstacles and facilitation of the progress up to this time, and based on this fact the seminar will set up action plan and strategies to safeguard Cambodian maritime security aiming at effectively promoting this sector.
At the present, although Cambodia has earned full peace nation-wide, Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) comprising of ground force, navy and air force, Military Police, National Police Force, local authorities and institutions concerned are still playing the vital roles in strengthening peace and political stability.
Besides ensuring security and social order such as cracking down on terrorism and armed robbery, the RCAF has been actively and directly supported ministries and government institution in many sectors such as combating crimes such as illegal narcotic business, women and children trafficking, money laundering, land grabbing, destruction of natural resource, cultural heritage and spread of illicit culture, and contributed to the construction of infrastructure such as road, bridge, irrigation, pound, well, school, hospital, pagoda, development center, de-mining, emergency relief for victims of disaster etc.
At the same time, the RCAF has also contributed actively to controlling, and confiscating and destroying weapons and explosives. Furthermore, the RCAF not only has good relationship with friend countries but also fulfilled humanitarian missions abroad under the request of the United Nations and command from the government.
As H.E. General Neang Phat, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Defense has emphasized, the navy has functioned as core force in protecting the integrity and security of Cambodia’s water territory by ensuring security and safety at seas and islands, which are the key contributions to creating favorable environment for national economic development.
While fulfilling its own mission to safeguard water territory, islands and beaches of Cambodia, the navy has resisted and fought against illegal activities and crimes and saved people from disaster. In parallel, the navy has also strengthened cooperation with the other countries’ navy such as the arrival of ships from other countries stopping by and visiting Cambodia, joint patrol between Cambodian and Vietnamese navy on historical water boundary and facilitating research group for the remains of American veterans on islands. These obviously reflect that Cambodian maritime security has been strengthened and expanded gradually.
Indeed, the strong Maritime security opens a window for trade with other countries in the region and the world. Furthermore, the protection of islands and beaches that are the main tourist resorts and the protection of the potentials of the Cambodian sea’s natural resources are the main sources of economic growth. At the same time, we also noted that Cambodian sea is geographically favorable, free from the catastrophic and frightening disaster and human suffering, such as the giant-waveTsunami, and has enjoyed environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management.
Along with the positive points on the Cambodian Maritime security mentioned above, the navy also faces some challenges – such as some islands of their bases are too remote and infested by malaria, with shortages in human resources, methods, technical equipments, funds, etc. These adverse factors hinder the Cambodian navy from fulfilling their duties fully and timely to curb crimes and to make emergency rescue.
Almost a decade ago, Cambodia has positively transformed its images. The “Win-Win” policy brings about real peace, national unity, and land unification to Cambodia and its people by the end of 1998. Indeed, during the last 9 years, Cambodia and its people have been enjoying the outcome of peace, political stability and fast economic growth. Peace and political stability, safety, social order, and peaceful environment are the important pre-conditions that allow Cambodia to materialize its national economic and social potentials.
In the context of stronger peace and stability day-by-day, the Royal Government, with strong determination, has pushed the implementation of all sectoral reforms in the framework of the “Rectangular Strategy” for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency and the “National Strategic Development Plan”. These efforts have taken deep roots in the foundation of Cambodia’s socio-economy and driven the economic growth rapidly.
In this sense, peace, political stability, security, and social order are the foundations of national economic development. Therefore, the major role of the Royal Government, by all means, is to continue to strengthen the linkages of peace’s elements. The strengthening of peace, political stability, security and social order will create a “real view” for Cambodia to build confidence for investors and tourists as well as to facilitate our people’s trade activity and actively contribution to economic development.
In this context, the RCAF, particularly the navy must continue to cooperate with all institutions, local authorities, and other armed forces to protect maritime peace and security, which will subsequently contribute to the maritime security for countries in the region and the world.
In general, according to present situation, the positive factors of maritime security have attracted the attention and efforts of many countries, but the negative factors such as crimes and pirate attacks, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, environmental pollution by oil spills etc. still remain. Furthermore, maritime disasters still exists, particularly the global trend is also focusing on the prevention of transnational crimes and international terrorist threats that have become pandemic disease and destroyed lives, assets, and infrastructure in a number of countries.
Clearly, regarding this matter, the Royal Government of Cambodia has shown its determination to fully cooperate with international community to prevent terrorism. Although its geographic location is remote from terrorism source and Cambodian border is not the strategic location for the attacks and hideout for foreign terrorists, Cambodia is not too optimistic about peace. Particularly, Cambodian maritime security protection is an important priority because the protection of Cambodian water territory is not done only to ensure peace, security and development with other neighboring countries but it also ensures the peace of the whole nation, especially the prevention of transnational crimes and international terrorisms.
Base on the above situation, I would like to raise some recommendations for the Maritime Security Seminar as follows:
- RCAF including the navy, air force, and Military Police, must continue to fulfill their historical missions to protect and sustain Cambodia’ s independency, sovereignty, and integrity, in particular the navy must continue to take the responsibility and control the geographical areas including oceans, islands and beaches by deploying forces and ships to the targeted spots and take actions and cooperate with the police and local authorities who are involved in fighting against all types of trespassing and crime, protecting safety, security, and stability and to serve the highest interests of the nation.
- Continue to educate, train, and increase various professional capacities and to seek better understanding of the maritime laws and international sea border issues for naval officers, in order for them to successfully fulfill their duties.
- Repair and taking care off ships, war arsenals, and machineries of the navy according to the technical standard to ensure timely and effective deploy of rescuing missions.
- Continue to set up naval posts at various sites, particularly islands, and to improve the livelihood and health of the naval officers.
- The navy must cooperate with the police involved in curbing oceanic transnational crimes including robbery, drug trafficking, human trafficking and all types of smuggling.
- Increase vigilance to prevent the threat of terrorism, ensure the country’s safety and security, increase more strict check points at the oceans, islands, and beaches and to control the traffic of all types of illegal weapons, especially to disconnect the terrorist’s network from the outside, their brain-washing, transfer of technology and flow of financing which aims to take place on the Cambodian oceans, islands and beaches.
- The navy must continue to cooperate with all concerned institutions and the police to protect the natural resource potential at Cambodian oceans, islands, and beaches and protect various tourism spots which are important for national development, sustainable environmental protection and natural resource management as well as rescuing ships and people from various disasters.
- The navy and the Sihanouk Ville’s port authority must ensure the safety, and security in leading ships into Cambodia’s water and port.
- Continue to strengthen international cooperation to further improve the capacity in protecting maritime security and safety and environmental quality as well as improve the rescuing and humanitarian mission capacity.
Before coming to the end, I would like to once again deeply thank the management, officials, all types of armed forces, local authorities, and the people of all levels as well as international communities for taking actions and providing full supports for the cause of national reconciliation, unity, safety and security.
Finally, I whish Your Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen with Five Gems of Buddha Blessings. I declare the opening of theMaritime Security Seminar from now on.