Venerable Buddhist Monks,
Excellency Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I have a great honor and pleasure to joint you all in the opening ceremony for construction section of the national road No. 7, which has a length of 187 km from Kratie Province to Cambodia-Laos borders in the Stung Treng Province, under the concessional loan from the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and counterpart fund of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC).
Taking this auspicious occasion, I would like to request His Excellency the Ambassador of the PRC and the Head of the high level delegation of the PRC to convey our sincere gratitude from the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia to the people and government of the PRC for their continued support including grants, concessional loans and technical cooperation in the past years, for rehabilitation and socio-economic development of Cambodia.
PRC is one of the close friends of Cambodia and has provided many supports not only for rehabilitation and infrastructure buildings but PRC has also encouraged their investors to invest in industrial, agricultural and tourism sectors in Cambodia. These have helped to push economic growth, generate employment for Cambodian citizen, thereby contributing to poverty alleviation in Cambodia. On behalf of People and the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to highly appreciate and treasure the kind gesture and generousity of the government and people of the PRC that has been imprinted in history and in spirit of every Cambodians.
Indeed, the “Rectangular Strategy” of the RGC has considered the development of physical infrastructure as a vital foundation for economic development, high sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Road is an important economic infrastructure which facilitate businesses, trade of goods between this area and big commercial centers within the country and in the region. For instance, for a person, to make body growing and having a good health requires the blood, which is supporting element of the body, to flow everywhere in the veins. For the same reason, an economy can grow unless trade, which is the supporting element of the economy, flows everywhere in the economy, where the road infrastructure facilitates all these trade activities.
In this sense, roads are necessary means to promote the engine of socio-economic growth, improve living standards and welfare of citizen as the slogan saying “where is a road there is a hope”. With the good road infrastructure, we can transport and exchange agricultural products quickly, safely, in large quantity, and with less time as well as with low cost in order to response to market needs. Good infrastructure can attract investment in every sector including industry, agriculture and tourism that may generate employment for our people and facilitate development of health and education sectors to reach remote areas. Then, the living standards and welfare of people will change for the better with good health, and become more educated with high morality and culture.
The section of National Road No. 7 to be built is the last parts of the dragon’s tail, which begins with the head at the Sihanouk Ville port connected with the National Road No. 4 along the sea coastline passing through Phnom Penh and the body crossed the National Road No. 6 A connecting to the National Road No. 7. This “dragon” is a breath and important veins for Cambodian economy linking southwest and northeast, which are the areas with economic potentials and provide important benefits for national and regional trade, in particular for cooperation among the three countries Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. When “dragon tail” is connected, the “dragon” will revitalize and empowered to increase the pace of economic growth and enhance living standards of Cambodian people to free them from poverty and improve welfare. It is because the areas where this “dragon” is passing through are the main economic areas of Cambodia including industry, agriculture and tourism. This national road will be used for traveling, transporting products of people in the North-East. The areas which are endowed with large area of high quality rubber plantations with international standard, potatoes plantations, soybean and sesame fields, cotton plantations and many others, in particular plants that can only grow in cold region such as butter trees, grapes, tea and coffee. In addition, this region is the area for eco-tourism that has nice sceneries, mountain surroundings and waterfalls as well as can see fresh water dolphin in Preak Kompy in Kratie province that can attract national and international tourists.
Moreover, this section of the National Road No. 7 will serve for the triangular development and cooperation of provinces of three countries Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as this road is a potential crossing bridge for land transportation of goods for these countries. This road is also the ASEAN highway project No. 11, which connects cities from Kunming, China crossing through Vietnam, Laos, Phnom Penh city towards international sea via Sihanouk Ville port, passing the National Road No. 4 or Cambodian rail road. At the same time, we can exchange products and goods within the areas around the National Road No. 7, including products from Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie and Stung Treng provinces as well as products from Laos, Vietnam to Thailand by rail road from Phnom Penh to Poi Pet.
There should be noted that in the past the transportation of goods in those areas were only made by water transportation, in particular only in rainy season because there is no appropriate road infrastructure to facilitate economic activities between different areas as this part of the national road was covered by red gravel and was damaged due to the lack of maintenance. Thus, people in those regions were cut off from other areas and Phnom Penh capital city which is the biggest center for politics, economy, commerce, culture and at the same time their living condition still at low level as there is a lack of ability to transport their products to the market and lack of experience and knowledge exchanges between other regions and especially with Phnom Penh city. Specifically, this national road will greatly contribute to effective and rapid integration of Cambodia into the region and world.
We are very proud of various achievements that we together have exerted effort to attain and we are very optimistic about the bright future of Cambodia. I would like to appeal to members of the RGC, authorities, management and civil servant of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation to continue to cooperate and fulfill their duties in order to connect transportation network across county wide. At the same time, support and understanding of citizen is prerequisite for this process, so that we can move smoothly and rapidly.
In this sense, on behalf of the RGC and people of Cambodia, I would like once again to extend our gratitude to people and government of our development partners and to all donor agencies that have always assisted and supported us mentally and materially as well as financially for rehabilitation and development of Cambodian economy, in particular in improving and building transportation infrastructures, which is a key for economic growth and poverty reduction.
I would like to express my high appreciation to all managements, civil servants, employees, workers of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, as well as to authorities, armed forces and all related institutions for their tremendous efforts to ensure the successful realization of strategic plan that RGC has laid out, in particular the construction of the section of this National Road No. 7. I would like also to congratulate and appraise the Shanghai General Construction Company that implements this project and Third Chinese Railways Exploration, which is technical consultant, making their efforts to implement the projects in order to successfully complete this part of the National Road No. 7 before the deadline, by the end of 2008.
At the end, I wish you all, Venerable Buddhist Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished national and international guests, civil servants, teachers, students, the five gems of Buddhist blessing. For economic development, progress and prosperity of Cambodian people, I would like to declare the official opening of this construction site for this section of the National Road No. 7 from Kratie to Cambodian-Lao border with the length of 187 km, form now on.