I am so glad that I could make it to Uddar Mean Chey once again after my presence here on January 20, 2009 to put into use the provincial office building. Again I am here for the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of National Road 68 from Kralanh district of Siemreap via Uddar Mean Chey and on to the border with Thailand …
We have broken the road length into three segments, of which 40 kilometers from Kralanh to O Jik at the border between Siemreap and Uddar Mean Chey, to be implemented by the Samdech Techo Hun Sen Engineering Team for Siemreap area; 35 kilometers from O Jik to Samraong to be implemented by Road and Heavy Construction Department and Office of Public Works and Transports of Uddar Mean Chey, and the last 42 Kilometers from Samraong to O Smaj at the border between Cambodia and Thailand by the Military Engineering Team of the General Staff of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces. Total length is 117 Kilometers.
Bridges, particularly on the part of road between Kralanh and the city of Uddar Mean Chey, have all been built by ADB operated project where 21 bridges of 687 meters, five places of pipe culverts of 108 meters, and box culverts of 17 places of 2,424 meters. The part between Uddar Mean Chey city and O Smaj, which is 42 kilometers, 18 more bridges of 270 meters, pipe culverts of 2991 meters and box culverts of 250 meters need to be built … Considering its urgency based on political and financial aspects, people’s anticipation also included, I have decided that we will get this job done.
In all we have 150 construction machinery from three construction units in order to get Hun Sen’s resolve become a reality. This is how Hun Sen respond to the call of duty asked for by people who have voted in overwhelming majority for the Cambodian People’s Party.
The road will be eleven meters in width in which seven meters in the middle part will be thick asphalt and 1.5 meters on either side will be less thick. The system will allow us at the later stage when we have money to bitumen to road.
As far as its role is concerned, the road will serve as a major link in local integration. I said more than one time that if we were to not integrate locally, how can integration with the region or foreign countries be done? As you know, this part of the country used to be disconnected in many parts because of war that continued to 1998, whereby some of the former forces of Ta Mok, and some from Nhek Bun Chhay’s, engaged in the conflict. Now we have peace. No more blue or red colors painted on so and so. That is the fruit of win-win policy.
For a country at peace, there is a need to do more than just political and administrative integration. All sectors have to be integrated and infrastructure is an essential factor … With help from Thailand we have a road built from Juam Srangam to Anlong Veng and from Anlong Veng to Siemreap, which Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand HE Suthep Thaugsuban joined me in officially putting it into use on July 4, 2009.
At present we are working on some more road projects whose role will be to integrate not only inside Cambodia but also with neighboring nations. For north-west, west and north of the country, we have, for example, road 48 from Sre Ambel to Koh Kong and on to the border with Thailand. It serves our purpose of integrating locally between Koh Kong people and those in the plain area of the country but also a close link to Vietnam at Prek Jak from Thailand for transportation purpose. Another road under construction is road 57, formerly national road 10, from Battambang to Pailin and onto the border with Thailand also serves local integration while connection to Thai’s port at Trat is a closer link too.
On the National Road 6, we have the truncation 68 built and I will preside over the inauguration ceremony soon. It also serves the purpose of local integration but also connection with Surin province of Thailand, whereas the national road 67 that connects Siemreap to Anlong Veng and Juam Sragnam al together. This has made Uddar Mean Chey a province of two international exits – O Smaj and Juam Sragnam. These are our roads that are built for local integration but also for reaching out to Thailand.
On the part with Vietnam, aside from roads that are already in place – national road 1, national road 2, national road 7, more roads that are under construction that serve our purpose of integration with Vietnam are national road 78 from Steong Treng to Ratanakiri and onto the border with Vietnam, which is being built in two sections – one by Vietnamese and the other by Chinese loan. Another road, national road 76, will stretch from Snual of Kratie to the city of Sen Monorom of Mondulkiri and onto Dak Dam at the border with Vietnam. Another road which is completely new is the national road 8 …
When we have poor infrastructure, not only that it makes life hard for us that equitable distribution of growth could not be properly administered, also we will have a burdensome difficulty in promoting investment projects … Now is the time of regionalization and globalization as far as trade is concerned. We are not in the time of sanction or economic embargo so there is no use of force to resolve conflict as before. Take for instance ASEAN will soon operate its ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement, whereby old ASEAN members will commence in 2010 and new ASEAN member states will follow suit in 2015. By 2010, both old and new groups of countries in ASEAN will enjoy free flow of goods and services, no barrier is anticipated. So our policy here is not to close the border or cut off trade and transportation between one another since they are keys for diplomatic relations. In the framework agreements under ASEAN as well as ACMECS, considering as barrier is not only physical obstacle on road but also intercommunication of laws and regulations, etc.
Therefore, policy that is contrary to promotion of integration is outdated and unjustifiable. It is in this belief that Cambodia has proposed initiatives to actively participate with all countries, including also its neighbors, in furthering integration in all sectors, be it road, water, rail and air infrastructure. As you can see now that no one is to benefit from game of creating obstacles in relation of transport and service flow at all. Cambodia therefore continues to support and promote the initiatives within the ASEAN integration and ACMECS. Symbolically, national road 68 here is not serving interest of the people of Cambodia in Siemreap and Uddar Mean Chey alone but for the whole of Cambodia as well as that of Cambodia and Thailand, particularly between people of Surin and Uddar Mean Chey and Siemreap provinces.
My vision has been to change battlefields into development areas. Win-win policy has brought about peace in which our people, no matter to what political tendency they may belong, have reunited under the Constitution and our beloved and respected HM the King. Secondly, transform border areas with neighboring countries into border of peace, cooperation and development. We have put into operation some special economic zones along the border with Vietnam and Thailand, and effort has been made to go for one with Laos. During the visit of HE Prime Minister of Laos in Cambodia lately, our negotiation focuses on how to go about setting up a wholesale market along the border in particular, and seek for economic development options in general.
Cambodia’s wish for integration does not stop at setting up cooperation on one part with Laos and on the other with Thailand, but for a triangular relations – Cambodia-Laos-Thailand, for which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three countries have agreed to have a summit in Thailand in 2010 to take stock of project development. Personally, at the three-country border, I want a 27-hole golf field, where each country has nine holes and golfers do not have to ask for visa.
We already have a development site of Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos, which enjoys a great deal of support from Japan. I believe friendly-neighborliness policy would create opportunity for people. I may be ambitious but I wish that usually and constantly poor and fearful people at the border become resourceful, free from fear and want, because of good cooperation between Cambodia and its neighbors. Cambodia has done a great deal of that with Vietnam and Laos and a major part with Thailand.
No one will benefit from war and/or sealing off border. In the recent meeting at Pataya of Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Cambodia, HE Tia Banh, and Defense Minister of Thailand HE Prawit, both agreed to promote cooperation … I also have instructed HE Tia Banh and HE Ly Yong Phat to see through the matter of authorization for fishing by Thais as they could not fish and we lost our income for some days now.
We do not believe in confrontation and all conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means and friendly and constructive negotiation. Policy based on threat and/or force under whatever form is by far outdated as well as in contradiction to the interest of the two peoples. The understanding reached between HE Tia Banh and HE Prawit Wongsowan and what happens on ground at the border have been encouraging.
I would like to take this time to inform you that in military region IV, within a span of one year, we have built 322 houses and four schools in concrete at the total cost of 9.82 million US dollars as contribution from generous fellows and/or institutions. The setup is not for fighting but we also are ready to defend our territory to the best we can.
I also warn our people not to encroach upon their territory to log whereby suffering consequences of being caught and killed or jailed. We also would not allow theirs from doing the same to us but I beg you not to wither kill or maim them.
We should base our action on law and whereby possible tell them to return because people would not know where the borderline would be …/.