In addition the prepared text, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen made the following selected comments regarding the current political situation and settlements of business process in Cambodia.
… May I have your attention on today’s event – October 14th, 2005, when the Thrown Council conducted its election for the new King. It is a historical event deserves remembering, though the coronation day itself was until late October. I had a plan to visit HM the King today’s afternoon with delegation from the Ministry of Social, and Veteran’s Affairs. But last night I had too much to think and do because some of the bad intention persons. I therefore requested HM the King’s permission to have His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to lead the delegation on my behalf.
… Let me now turn to the work that we need to settle. I know today is the fourteenth day of scanning efforts on goods to be exported from the Sihanoukville seaport, and HE Keat Chhon was there to preside over the launch of the scanning session. I talked with HE Pen Siman (from the Custom Office) and HE Sok An and I think may be it is not worth having this scanning vehicle since it is 1.2 meter lower than the container. Because its beam light into the container can lead to the extent of just 1.5 meter, the vehicle has to run around the container for scanning. I think this is not economical or cost-efficient at all.
… We will have to impose scanning on both export and import goods and the three aims we have are to prevent 1) smuggling in the form of deceiving items or amount of items in the container; 2) possible trafficking of drug and weapons. This is indeed a serious matter since we had in the past some problem with drugs hidden in the container already. We have to ensure credible business with everyone and we cannot stand to have drugs, equally weapons, shipped out from Cambodia. We accepted that weapons from Cambodia in the past flowed to Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and even the Karen in Myanmar; 3) the most haunting issue of terrorism for the whole world. Before there were bombing incidents in London, HE Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Cambodia, in his capacity as the head of the EU, led a EU delegation to see me to find out what is the development on the ratification of the law.
… I just wanted to assure you that it is not pragmatic to think that countries with law against terrorism could do better thing to prevent it, while on the contrary those without law could do nothing to prevent it. What is important here is the move and measures taken by the Government. After my discussion with HE Ambassador of the UK, about five days later London was under attacks, and I watched the news on CNN in Kunming. Terrorism is unpredictable because they may resort to smaller countries when bigger ones are hard to deal with. Export route is one of the possibilities in carrying out their attacks, exploding the planes, the ships, or even destination countries as they reached in. Then Cambodia would suffer a greater blow. It is for the sake of doing long-term business and nurturing partnership that we have thought of using this scanning machine.
… I have ordered the Ministry of Finance and Custom Office to cease the scanning process for export goods – they may have to conduct manual checks while I am suggesting two options for HE Keat Chhon, Minister of Finance and Economy. First, we should seek foreign assistance in this matter and I have learned that we have conducted discussion with Japan. When we have foreign assistance in this matter, the Custom Office and CamControl should manage it with a minor cost for checking operation. In case no foreign country would offer to help, we should allow the company to purchase the machine, but they should first agree on the price before reporting it to me. I would like to make clear that scanning will be conducted in all export-import points, and one they all are in place and fully operational the custom officers and CamControl will have less duties in checking the stuff which would eventually lead to the reduction of corruption.
… It is indeed disappointed that we have problems of bribes. To round them up but we need to have the cooperation from the private sectors. As we now continue for a while the manual checking on goods I would seek the private sector’s cooperation if there appears to be any under-table money in the process. Once scanning is in place, no custom officers come to your place as your goods will be checked only at the exit point. I have learned of a model of human trafficking from Africa to Europe, and trafficked people were stuffed in containers. We all should do our utmost to keep the three points in check.
… I am sure you all are fascinated by the current political development, especially when it definitely has a direct impact on your decision of whether or not invest in Cambodia. Let me assure you that there is nothing serious. It is usual that some people in Cambodia, when they dislike or oppose someone, they always accused so and so of selling land to foreign countries. I have ordered the broadcast of songs from the previous times “bye mum to be a soldier” sung by the late famous singer Sin Sisamuth. I do not know its lyrics writer but I think it was released in the 1970s and part of it goes “it is remorseful about the Cambodian land left from our ancestors, the King sold it to Viet Cong in betrayal of nation and religion, I am decided to launch a victorious war.” The song blamed Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk for selling land to foreign countries, but the said sold land still belongs to Cambodia.
… As for me now I do not think they care about insulting me. The current development has evolved into a serious situation when they called to the Cabinet of the Central Committee twice threatening to kill my father in the pagoda. They also sent a fax from France. Yesterday the Royal Government already sued four people who have accused in their leaflets that Cambodia lost its land from 4000 to 6000 square kilometers of land and 10,000 square kilometers of water territory. I wish to seek understanding from foreign diplomatic corps in Cambodia and not to interfere in Cambodia’s internal affairs, while allowing the court to proceed. I am very disappointed that some friendly countries still offer the bad guys money to insult the Government, and to condemn the Government for its legal action. Democracy has to go along with rule of law, without which it will become anarchy. We also see that you all have problems. We do not interfere in your affairs, and you should reciprocate in kind.
… Let’s see the problem as a political attempt. When there was political conflict with Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk in the past, the opposition to Samdech Sihanouk accused Samdech of selling land to Viet Cong, and now the opposition said I sold the land too. There are many cases similar to this one. Take for instance the South China sea territory – many countries claimed their ownerships. Indian and Pakistan has a Kashmiri problem, while Japan and Russia all claimed ownership of the Kuril island. But politicians never insult one another or blamed the Government but encouraged their Government to seek a solution to the problem. As in the case now in Cambodia, when reaching a solution, one has to bear the brunt of condemnation. I know it would not go away easily or soon because they would nurture it as a political target. It is in this fact that we have no other choice but invite the four guys to point to us the lost land and waters as they said. I signed a treaty on land border, but lost the waters, I want them to tell me how and where.
… In fact one should ask why the Royal Government could not reach a deal with Vietnam on the seventh point. We do not come to the deal on this point because we think the case in point is the Cambodian land and therefore we do not agree on that. It is hard to trace back when the Governor General of France in those days defined the border between us. It is worse that the map that we have deposited at the United Nations already illustrates the loss. Though it was a deposit copy at the United Nations, auditing it should be ordered, as six of them have been redefined, all the seven points have to be reexamined as well. I would ask for an forgiveness from Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk that I have ordered the play of the song that was once against him, but it was because it is important to explain that it was the same group that blamed Samdech Preah Norodom in the past now has come to do the same against me.