… May I take this opportunity to declare the inauguration of the Chinese-Cambodian Friendship Doem Sdao Bridge, and the putting into use the Sen Tarsu road, linking the area to the national road 11, and on to the national road 7. I am very pleased to see that these achievements would contribute to the reduction of hardships of the people in the area with a great interaction in the region. A few years ago we have put into use no far from here the Pong Ro Bridge and a number of other bridges, but without the Doeum Sdao Bridge in place the traffic in this area would continue to be disconnected. Because of the financial situation we suffered, we sometimes took provisional measures, including the provision of ferry facilities for our people.
… I am glad that today we have the participation of all related institutions. Along a district of Kompong Cham and a district of Prey Veng province, we have set up along the area 18 bridges of the total length of 992 meters, four of which consisting of 295 meters were built for the district of Koh Sotin, 3 bridges of 111 meters for the district of Sithor Kandal of Prey Veng, and 11 bridges of 486 meters for the area along the district of Kompong Cham’s Srey Santhor and Kandal’s Khsach Kandal.
… May I take this auspicious occasion to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to the People’s Republic of China, with the presence here of the PRC’s Ambassador, for the provision of such a valuable assistance for the sake of contributing to the improvement of the country’s infrastructure. In various meetings that I had with former and current leaders of the People’s Republic of China – Jiang Zemin, Zhu Rongji, Wu Yi, I always sounded out Cambodia’s need for the improvement of the country’s infrastructure, and the PRC’s leaders have always been helpful in making available the Bailey Bridges segments made in China for Cambodia. We have at the seaport now the arrival of another 1500 meters of the Bailey bridge segments, which, after the assembly, would have a width of 7.2 meters.
… Among other projects, PRC has been involved in a huge construction of a long part of the national road 7 between the province of Kratie and the border with Laos – a total length of about 200 kilometers. HE Sun Chanthol, Minister for Transports and Public Works, after his second trip within a break of about two weeks after the first trip, wrote me a report that there has been a huge difference between the first and the second trip. This implies that the project implementation is in a fast pace than expected.
… Taking the two countries’ relationship into consideration, Cambodia thanks HM former King of Cambodia Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who has a good relation with the PRC over the past 50 years, and which has been maintained to the presence. With new leaders in place, HE Hu Jintao and HE Wen Jiabao, and the HM the King Norodom Sihamoni and I as the current Prime Minister, Cambodia is committed to the one-China policy. The countries are eying for further progress, and the Chinese assistance to Cambodia would continue to increase thereby… By end of this month, as I could remember, there is a direct flight from the capital of Beijing to Phnom Penh, in addition to the flights from Shanghai- and Guonchou-Phnom Penh.
… May I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Transports and Public Works and the Ministry of Rural Development, as well as the local authorities and our people as a whole, who have given out land along the bridge’s ends for the sake of its construction, without which the construction would not be able to get off the ground. Also I thank the engineering team of HE General Kong Ieng as well as the medical team of HE General Kao Tri for their all out efforts in helping the project going smoothly and in providing treatment to the people in the areas. HE Dr. Saat Sami is also making grateful contribution in the provision of solar energized electricity for the Chinese-Cambodian friendship bridge Doeum Sdao, and other bridges with a standard length of 60 meters and over.
… The construction of the bridge fell on March 29, 2004, which was within the period of political deadlock situation. After ten days of the creation of the Royal Government, on July 16, we came here and provisionally put the bridge into use but vehicles of heavy load were not allowed to cross the bridge. I may recall that from this area on March 29, 30 years ago, I left this place to the battle at the Tonble Bet, from where I got a left-eye injury. I know of the area very well. In the flood season, ferry service is essential for traveling, while in the dry season there needs to have some small bridges. This place was studied and planned to have a bridge built by administrations during the Sangkum Reastr Niyum led by HE Yu Hockry, then Governor of Koh Sotin, and later Governor of Kompong Cham’s Preap Pichey, and the current administration.
… It is indeed a pleasure that we are able to have the bridge built. Before the bridge is built, our people are suffering a severe hardship caused by absence of the bridge. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports should conduct a study to find out the rate of school drop-out before and after the bridge is in service. As of the time the bridge is in service, the people no longer pay for the ferry service as the Government is making a subsidy for them.
… We score achievements today because we have obtained stability and peace fully and thanks to the participations of both major political parties – CPP and Funcinpec, in the coalition Government. Samdech Krom Preah and I have been the one who saved the situation from political deadlock. Through a Chinese delegation in Phnom Penh, I denied a proposal from Funcinpec to carry out a talk on possible formation of the tripartite of the coalition Governmentat a neutral place. If, however, we were to discuss the formation of the coalition Government of two – CPP and Funcinpec, there would need to have no neutral place to conduct such a talk as I would come over to his (Samdech Krom Preah’s) place to call on him. An hour after the Chinese delegation left from a meeting with me, Samdech Krom Preah called me to confirm if I really told them that.
… This bridge was approved for construction at the time when we had political deadlock. Why did we approve the bridge in that situation? I approved in February 2004, and the groundbreaking ceremony held in March 2004. Though we had political deadlock situation, the country’s development – especially bridge construction, could not afford to be hostage of the political situation. I have planned that the old Government would be running day-to-day affairs while in absence of a new one with four necessary works to be fulfilled: (1) maintain political stability, security, social order in such a way that our people do not have to pay any more prices after they have exercised their rights for democracy through the July election in 2003; (2) maintain the macro-economic stability, while preventing inflation and promoting further economic growth; (3) maintain sustainability of administration of all levels, Government and the local authorities; and (4) maintain relations with foreign countries, especially neighboring countries, in the region as well as in the world.
… As of now the cultivation situation throughout Cambodia, also countries in the region like Thailand and Vietnam, has been severely damaged by drought. As for the district of Koh Sotin, HE Khieu Kannharith is the head of the CPP working team who should be accountable for the people’s need in the area. Cambodia has now turned all of its battlefields into development sites, while the Government is focusing attention in this term on hydraulic projects, along with the continued construction of the roads and bridges. As of now I learned that people start the Ramvong dance at night in preparation for the joyous Khmer New Year. I would recommend them to just dance and not to fight at dancing places.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered a sum of five million Riels for the finishing of the roof of the Buddhist temple in Koh Sitin, 30 computers and 01 printer to the College of Chi He, two school buildings of 12 classrooms with the sharing contribution by HE Ambassador of China, and a school building of six classrooms for the Primamry School of Phum Veal.