– Dear Rector, Board of Directors, Delegates and Professors of the Korea University
– Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today, it is my great pleasure and honor that the Korea University decided to confer upon me the honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science. At the outset, I would like to express my deepest thanks to the Rector and Board of Directors, who have highly evaluated me amongst the prominent political figures and granted the Honorary Doctorate Degree in Political Science. The award also provides honor to the Royal Government and people of Cambodia. Moreover, this prideful honor truly reflects the progress on the right and realistic path of realizing Cambodia’s political vision that helped eliminate the country’s isolation and solve the previous crisis effectively, and prepare itself to be able to adjust to the current situation, and develop a National Strategic Development Plan with long term vision for the future of Cambodia.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to highlight some important aspects involving the position, good will and political perspective in solving and coping with the crisis in Cambodia, which responds to the high recognition and appreciation of my activities and efforts in the cause of serving my most beloved people and country. In general, every effort that I have been resolutely leading with strong commitment is based on the appropriate and realistic political vision, which reflects the reality of Cambodia and responds to the good aspiration of Cambodian people. Based on this leadership, a great deal of priceless achievements has been made, including the following:
First, After Cambodia was liberated from the genocidal regime on 7 January 1979, Cambodian people faced all kinds of difficulties, including the shortage of foods, medicines, clothes, education and training and shelters. In particular, we had to start the development from scratch. Departing from this point, we have gradually restored the country by trying to rebuild and develop, in one hand, and protect and prevent the return of the genocidal regime, on the other hand, because at that time the internal conflict was not entirely ended. Those matters include the cause of national reconciliation, strengthening and developing the national economy and capacity building of officials and institutions through the preparation of administrative, legal, educational, health, agricultural and physical infrastructure systems throughout the country. These efforts have become a strong foundation for the prosperity and socio-economic stability of Cambodia now and in the future.
Second, based on the effort of restoration and development, Cambodia has come across in-depth reform from the planning economy to the planning-market oriented economy and then to a free market economy in late 1980s. This reform has been carefully conducted step by step, conforming to the process of socio-economic development, which aim to promote the active participation of the private sector in order to enlarge the base for production, agriculture, trade and service, which have upgraded the living of people and social development. Resulting from this careful reform, Cambodia has built strong and comprehensive economic foundation, which is consistent and intertwined as well as creating excellent business environment for Cambodia.
Third, through the efforts in implementing the policy of national reconciliation with consistency and commitment, Cambodia closed the dark historical page, resulted from its internal conflict, in the late 1990s by internally integrating all Cambodian factions from different political tendencies into a national fold as well as created a new era of “liberal and multi-party democracy regime”, which has brought about a full peace, the respect for human rights and dignity and the real development. The achievement of full peace throughout the country stemmed from the implementation of the “win-win” policy, which is the philosophy of respecting human rights, ensuring all sorts of security and safety for the ex-opponents in the conflict. This perspective has been resulted from the real aspiration of the people, who have been fed up with the crisis and decades of chronic wars, for peace in the society together with the arts of concession and sharing for the common interest of the nation.
Fourth, Cambodia has been actively integrated into the regional and global groupings in an attempt to expand opportunities and the scope of the scale economy through the policy of liberalization in trade and investment as well as the facilitation of capital flow and technology transfer in order to attain a quick prosperity for the country. Cambodia is currently becoming a significant actor and actively participating with equal rights and footings in all regional and global affairs.
Fifth, the right policy and leadership with strong will in the condition of full peace and sustainable stability has helped Cambodia to believe in herself that we are now on a critical path in moving toward a bright future with optimism and hope. Indeed, during the last decade, economic growth has increased on average of 9.4% and the poverty rate has declined on average of more than 1% per year. This achievement has been achieved in the difficult context and condition, which Cambodia has to manage and overcome the external unfavorable climate and continuous storms of the crisis including the current global financial crisis.
In general, the achievements stemming from strong and long term political perspectives did not happen by chance. In fact, we have thought and planned beforehand with high attention and scrutiny together with firm and realistic position, according to the changing environment and requirements of the socio-economic development. During the day-to-day leadership at the present time, I have always considered peace and political stability as a strong basis for development, and the reform is a life and death issue for Cambodia. If we have not consistently implemented the policy of national reconciliation and deep reforms, Cambodia cannot truly escape from the darkness of war tragedy and conflict as well as the trap of crisis and chronic poverty.
Before ending, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Government and people of Korea, who have always continuously supported in the form of grants and soft loans and have promoted the flow of more Korean private investment and tourists to invest and visit Cambodia, which is an important contribution to the restoration and development of the Kingdom of Cambodia. With this great honor today and for the sake of strengthening and expanding relationship between our two nations we will continue our joint efforts and closer relationships, leading to a more comprehensive cooperation and long term stability for our two countries and peoples.
Moreover, I would like to express great pleasure to the ASEAN-ROK 20th Commemorative Summit, which has been deeply expanded. With the ceremony today, I would appeal once again to all Korean investors to seek opportunities of cooperation and investment in Cambodia.
I would like to thank all colleagues and officials from Cambodia, who have tried their utmost to serve the beloved country and people by fulfilling duties in a spirit of high responsibility and national interest, leading to the realization of the political perspective with the objective to ensure peace, poverty reduction and socio-economic development for the country and people of Cambodia. The honor provided to me by the Korea University today is also their honor. In this regard, I would like to share this pride with my dear wife, Lok Chumteav Bun Rany Hun Sen, and all beloved children and grandchildren, who have always stayed close to me, encouraged and supported me in every mission to serve the nation.
Finally, may I wish the Rector, Board of Directors and all Professors of the Korea University, Delegates, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, prosperity and every success.