Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei echo Hun Sen officiated the inauguration of the NR 3 between Kompot town and Trapeang Ropov and launched the construction of the NR 3 segment from Kompot town back to Phnom Penh’s Chaom Chao with the following comments.
Post War Achievements by Korean-Cambodian Cooperation
Please allow me to speak mainly about the project to rebuild and enlarge the national road 3 and bridges after we launched the construction in 2004. We have conducted negotiations with the Korean side on many grounds before we reached the agreement to have the NR 3 from Phnom Penh’s Cham Chao to the town of Kompot – 137.5 kilometers – rebuilt. Since 1996, I have had the chance to work with four Presidents of the Republic of Korea – HE Kim Yung-sam, HE Kim Dae-yung, HE Roh Moo-hyun and the current President elect Ly Myung-bak.
After my visits to the RoK, three projects have been initiated and implemented – first, the NR 3 from Kompot’s Tropeang Ropeo with a number of bridges crossing the tributaries to the sea, second, the vocational training school, and third, the information technology project. The three projects have in fact been completed and our people have actually been using them already. Not until today do we have the chance to put the road and bridges in official use.
My visit to Rok in 2006 has brought Korea and Cambodia to a new level of cooperation with more projects in hands. Firstly, we have the irrigation project Kraing Punlei to the north of Phnom Penh with a multi-purpose facility, which provides irrigation to cultivation area in many districts of Kompong Speu, Kandal and Kompong Chhnang provinces. Secondly, we have proposed to the RoK to rebuild and enlarge the NR 3 from Phnom Penh’s Chaom Chao to the provincial town of Kompot. Thirdly, we have agreed to bring the IT cooperation and assistance to the higher level.
NR 3 – Phnom Penh-Kompot for Salt Supply
Upon the visit of HE Roh Moo-Hyun, the former President of RoK, to the Kingdom of Cambodia, I took the liberty to convince him the need for the rehabilitation of the NR 3 as it is the only link for the country’s supply of salt from Kompot salt field. But also the completion of the NR 3 helps us achieve the vision of connecting the country corridor along the coast for transportation purpose all the way from Koh Kong down here, hence the connection from the NR 48 built with the assistance of the Thailand and bridges built by Oknha Ly Yong Phat.
Greater Mekong Sub-regional Integration
The NR 3 from this part will also lead to the corridor on Vietnam’s side, which together form what we call the AH (ASEAN Highway) 123. The AH 123 is a line of road from Thailand through Cambodia’s NR 48 and then NR 33 and then to Vietnam’s Ha Tien. This also clearly shows that we have achieved internal integration in the framework of Kompot, Sihanoukville and also the Greater Mekong Sub-regional plan of integration.
It is not by chance that we have come to inaugurating so many roads that link Cambodia to all its neighboring countries. I just went to Stoeng Treng to see and to put into official use the NR 7 segment between Kratie and StoeugnTreng and to the Cambodian-Lao border. We today have connected Cambodia and Thailand by this corridor that is funded by three different sources – Thailand, World Bank and RoK. As I said what remains to be completed is the NR 3 from Phnom Penh’s Chaom Chao to Kompot town.
More Projects Proposed
In fact there have been many Governors who were assigned to take the post in the province of Kompot. The provincial town has had little development though it has taken many governors in the past. But because of the road rehabilitation and development, there have been suggestions and projects for investment in the province.
I would like to take this solemn occasion to confirm with the Ambassador of the RoK in relation to the commitment to provide Cambodia 40 million US dollars per year for a period of 3 years and the Cambodian Minister for Economy and Finance HE Keat Chhon already proposed that the loan should be used in projects to build, rebuild and rehabilitate 1) water treatment plant in Siem Reap province, 2) the NR 33 and other roads, 3) the multi-purpose dam in the river of Sangke and a number of bridges along the NR throughout the country.
Phnom Penh-Seoul Relations
The Ambassador of Korea has just expressed his thanks for my brilliant diplomatic decision that has brought the relations between the two countries to this level of close friendship. I accepted that the history is this true. In return, I have to thank the Korean friends for all the efforts they have made for the bilateral relations to prosper. I have been trying in every forum and at any time I can to build up equal diplomatic relations with the two Koreas.
I then invited the Ambassador of RoK in Thailand to visit Cambodia. I had a discussion with him in Phnom Penh and proposed, though I knew it is unfair for RoK to accept it, the office of the representation of the RoK in Phnom Penh as the start. It was impossible to make decision in those days because Cambodia was under co-premier leadership, whereas one Prime Minister is against the idea of promoting diplomatic relations to ambassadorial level. I thank the RoK very much for the understanding of the matter. The RoK sent its Ambassador to present its credential to the Minister of Foreign Affairs only and work with the second Prime Minister.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk for his acceptance of credential letter from the Ambassador of the RoK which means that Samdech supported my foreign policy. From then the relations between Cambodia and Korea have taken shape in a speedy manner like others. Up to this moment, RoK has taken its lead in eight sectors in Cambodia – investment, tourism, cultural exchange, information technology, vocational training, banking and finance, construction, and air link.
I would also like to make it clear here that while establishing relations with South Korea, Cambodia does not neglect its relations with the North. Cambodia nurtures both. It is also in our interest that the two Koreas work peacefully together.