… I have a great pleasure to be able to return to the district of Bati once again today after my visit last week to the pagoda of Chak Andet. I am also grateful to our people and Buddhist parishioners here for the invitation kindly extended to me to preside over the inauguration of a temple in the Duong Keo Muni pagoda this morning. The temple was built at the contributions made by various dignitaries and generous fellows. The pagoda is about 200 years old as it was built in 1803. The pagoda Duong Keo Muni, like all pagodas throughout the country, was badly destroyed under the Pol Pot’s genocide regime but gradually after the liberation on January 7, 1979, our people and monks have reconstructed it into an appropriately respected place for Buddhism.
… May I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to our Buddhist parishioners as well as generous fellows for their contributions for the achievements inside the pagoda and I would argue this as the value of resource sharing spirit, which is the nature of Khmer. I have been welcomed just now by our teachers and students from the Bun Ranny-Hun Sen Chambak College and they told me that the college has just been provided with sewing machines for its vocational sewing class. I would say there is no harm if male students also receive training in sewing. Knowledge and know-how are wealth that does not wear out or subject to any losses. No matter from where one gets knowledge and know-how, school or pagoda, they could not be plundered like money or other types of resources. Take for instance Pol Pot could destroy everything, but Pol Pot could not eliminate the knowledge and know-how that our people acquired from previous regimes.
… The people in Bati, especially in Put Sar, have taken me by surprise that there is a need for intervention by the state on issue of management of main canals as well as tax on rice cultivation land. If I were to be re-elected, I would continue my policy of not imposing tax on our farmers, and this exemption period would not be less than ten more years… I would argue that the tax exemption on farm land is no different to a state investment for farmers. Normally every country in the world practises a system of charging tax on land and the money will be breaking down into a sharing of resources in the form of teachers and physicians’ salaries. As for Cambodia now, not only that we do not impose tax on farmers, we also restore main canals, build schools and hospitals, as well as provide clean water for them.
… Please allow me today to update you all about some political developments. First I would like to express my deep thanks to our people for calmness they have maintained in face of the breaking out of war in Iraq in response to my appeal in Prey Veng 48 hours before the ultimatum announced by the US President for the Iraqi President. We have taken all necessary measures to defend foreign embassies and nationals that are residing in Cambodia. We have to continue our way of life and as I said before that Cambodia is seeking only safety and peace. Secondly, last week in the district of Samaki Mean Chei of Kompong Chhnang, I have declared that Cambodia and Thailand have reduced to minimum our misunderstandings. Last Friday, based upon mutual respect of sovereignty and integrity, the spirit of friendship and cooperation with mutual interest, and equality and equal rights, Cambodia and Thailand have reached the normalization of relations by reopening their borders for the people from each country to commute and make business with one another.
… The normalization of relations between our two countries has stemmed from political maturity possessed by the two Royal Governments, in which the Prime Ministers of the two countries have taken up position of co-commanders in directing this work. Political maturity has come out of the fact that we have similar philosophy, similar means to resolve the problem, respect of common interests of the two peoples, and the principle of using peaceful means in resolving the conflicts rather than forces or rhetorics. This has brought out a win-win situation for the two countries. We have resolved this issue in “equal status and equal right” as we all are members of ASEAN, and being member of this association, each country member, no matter what size it may be, enjoys this status of “equal status and equal right.” The two countries has shaken hands and not stepped on each other’s foot. Cambodia and Thailand has not internationalised its differences, including in the ASEAN framework. We have not disturbed ASEAN for this, while neglect provocative opinions of the opposition… We have now normalized our two countries’ relations and we are in the process of improving it further.
… In this incident I said to HE Thakshin Sinawatra, who has been my friend for over ten years, and his foreign secretary Surakiet, with whom we have worked over more than one decade, that “both of us are victims of the situation, we should not leave the third party (I mean the opposition) to benefit from this situation at all. We have to act on this matter.” I take this chance to express my deep appreciation to HE Senior Minister Sok An and members of the Cambodian negotiation team as well as their Thai counterparts for the performance of negotiation in the friendly and constructive spirit. They have also initiated a new mechanism for the evasion of further misunderstanding in the two countries’ relations in the future. Take for instance the initiation of the setting up of a common cultural committee for the sake of studying of any misunderstandings on the sides of Thailand and Cambodia. We used to have problems of misinterpretation of the history, so this mechanism, for which the Royal Cambodian Academy and a number of dignitaries would be assigned to, and the same will be done on the Thai side, will take these differences into light.
… I wish to take this opportunity to thanks our authorities at the border both on the Cambodian and Thai sides for the facilitation for about ten thousand people cross the border yesterday. HE Prime Minister Thanksin used to mention that “help neighbouring countries to progress is to help Thailand itself.” This is proven through the fact that not only that Thai did not request for loans from the reserved package from ADB, but leave the package for its neighbouring countries.” This decision has created a cooperative framework for the Mekong Sub-region development and I have respected this as a great gesture and manner of a statesman of the Thai Prime Minister. I wish to also address our nation that we have to continue to support the vision of safeguarding peace and internal stability with our neighbours…
On that occasion, Samdech Hun Sen offered Riel 20 million to the pagoda of Duong Keo Muni for the construction of a Dharma Hall, a school building with five classrooms to the Primary School of Duong Keo Muni, 26 tons of labour rice for construction of a dirt road and one school building with five classrooms to the Primary school of O Poat.