… It is indeed my pleasure to be with you all today. On our people’s behalf I would like to express the Cambodian people’s gratitude to the people and Government of the People’s Republic of China for all of their assistances to the Kingdom of Cambodia, take for instance the NR 8 which never exists in the country’s past. Just now HE Chang Jin Feng, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, mentioned about the two country’s relationships in the past over ten years – which is remarkable and memorable marked by the provision of assistance, grant, non-interest and commercial loans, all of which are making contribution to the socio-economic development in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Madame Ambassador has also asserted that the on-going assembly of the People’s National Congress of China re-affirms PRC’s foreign policy in its relations with neighboring countries by showing clearly the Chinese role in contributing largely to peace and stability in the region and the world as well. It has been a long time that Cambodia affirms in its policy of One China Policy. What is important here is that China’s development and emergence is no threat to any country but on the contrary every country is benefiting from China. Take for instance it would be a plus for Cambodia if it could attract 3 million Chinese tourists and I am sure this figure will one day be happening.
The twin allied provinces has also been established between the Province of Prey Veng and the Autonomous Region of Quangxi. China allocated 300 million US dollars of its 5 billion US dollars for Cambodia. We have made use of the sum and we are asking more. The NR 8 is using a part of the said amount together with those road projects of NR 76, etc. The NR 8 opening construction will be followed by the project to build the Prek Ta Meak bridge to connect the NR 8 to Phnom Penh city over the Mekong and the project of the Prek Kdam Bridge.
The NR 8 is composed of two segments – the 57 Kilometer segment between Prek Tameak of Kandal province and the NR 11 at Svay Antor of Prey Veng province and the 52 Kilometer segment between Svay Antor and Anlong Chrey on the border with Vietnam. Before this road was given three digit numbers and now we have only two digits. We would soon change the road numbering on the Cambodian map. We no longer have NR 315 and 316 anymore but the NR 8. Take for instance, a new map is necessary since we have many new bridges like the bridge of Prek Ta Meak and Prek Kdam, for example. We also will have the unprecedented Ta Khmao Bridge. These are positive changes indeed.
After I first announce the plan to build the NR 8, despite our small budget, the Royal Government spent already 6 million US dollars for the renovation of the road to provisionally improve circulation of traffic. But we have to look further as to where and when this project came into existence. In 1989 or 17 years ago I came to this part of the country from Prek Ta Meak to Vihea Suor and the road was so bad that we all had to travel on bikes to the district of Srey Santhor of Kompong Cham and from there back to Sanlong commune of Khsach Kandal district. I spent a night in Sanlong because there was a huge rain that day.
My trip in the next day brought me to a rickety boat ferry that I finally had this idea of building a bridge in its replacement. Students failed to get to school which is on the other side of the water way because of the ferry. This is quite clear in my memory. I also wrote a song “A Golden Gift of Bridge Preah Kunlong.” I came for the inauguration of the bridge with my wife in 1990. Riding along the dam I had another idea that this road may have to be built anew and some efforts have been made to improve the road condition and the late HE Sin Song and Oknha Theng Bun Ma contributed in building a bridge at Kampong Popil and I also came for its inauguration.
We currently have the Bailey Bridge at Preah Kunlong enlarged to seven meters wide and when we have this NR 8 project underway, those bridges will have to be removed and brought to other places. These Bailey Bridges are from China too. It is noted that China has a major role in the efforts of rebuilding roads and bridges in Cambodia. As those projects are complete, China has been building the longest roads and bridges in Cambodia. Well, in my latest meeting with HE Premier Wen Jia Bao in the Philippines, I requested China’s assistance to build the NR 78 from O Porngmoan to Ratanakiri’s Baanlung. He responded that let’s wait for the completion of the construction of the last segment of the NR 7 and we now have achieved that. I would insist that the NR 78 should be built with a new financial package as the latest 100 million US dollars is for the construction of the NR 10 from Battambang to the border with Thailand in Pailin.
We also have the vision of connecting the NR 8 to the NR 7 and on to Monndulkiri. When I was asked by reporters about China’s possible threat to the international community prior to its accession to WTO, I responded that should we be hosting Chinese tourists or its refugees? When China was invaded by foreign powers in the past, refugees spilt all over the region, Cambodia also included. The best thing for us is to make China a market for our product and it is indeed impossible to contain China’s development. China has its rights to develop the country.
In the course of building this road the Royal Government has to provide its counterpart fund of 13 million US dollars and this has not included yet the amount in compensation for the local residences which are to be affected by the project yet. This road is to be built using the Shanghai standard which consists of the three elements – 1) low price 2) good quality and 3) speedy implementation of the project. We have tried to make this road as straight as possible to save us 19.6 Kilometers from previous length. The total length is now 109 Kilometers only. As for the 19.6 Kilometers that are cut out from the main road re-direction, we also have covered the cost of asphalting it too. This road is going to be the largest road in Cambodia as it is to be asphalted in concrete up to ten meters wide. For other roads we cover in asphalted concrete only 7 meters.
The 19.6 Kilometer road cost the Royal Government as extra sum of over two million US dollars. The Shanghai Company is to cover a length of 4,600 meters at Svay Antor at the cost of over half a million US dollars, whereas the rest I recommend that the Ministry of Transports and the Ministry of Finance and Economy discuss with the Chinese counterparts to use the package of 200 million US dollars to complete the deficit. So people whose residences have been left out of the project are not disappointed as the road in front of their houses is also asphalted.
We started the project from here (Prey Veng’s Svay Antor) to the border with Vietnam at Anlong Chrey but we also will see to the construction of another extension from Krabao to Moeun Chey which is 6 Kilometers long with a projected fund of two million US dollars. This will indeed be a plus for Vietnam according to a study tour made by HE Deputy Prime Minsiter Sar Kheng that it will help the province with more trade access points with Vietnam. We also have to build a 20 Kilometer road from Anlong Chrey to the district of Punnhea Krek from the new package of 100 million US dollars, a 20 Kilometer road to Moeun Chey, to Romeas Hek, etc. Those travel from Phnom Penh to provinces in northeast – Kratie, Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stoeung Treng will save their trip 20 Kilometers by NR 8 instead of by NR 7.
This is a great effort made to integrate Cambodia internally and if Cambodia could not integrate itself, how could Cambodia do to other countries in the region? Cambodia also has its part in the framework of the Greater Mekong Subregion and this road indeed is a dam which has to be higher than flood level of 2000. It is important to pay attention to water pressure and flood power diversion as to water outlets. It took three and a-half years for the feasibility study of the NR 8.
As the communal elections are approaching I would appeal to the armed forces, local authorities to provide all favorable possible conditions for a neutral environment, security for the coming elections. HE Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng is security chief for the elections. I appeal to all political parties to launch their campaigns in dignity while refrain themselves from using provocative and insulting rhetoric which could lead to violence.
As things could be easily reduced to political motivation, I warn members of party campaign to exercise self restraint in face of insults from others. Now it has become a political issue when the Royal Government demands for return of state fund that has been misappropriated or in other money case. I would warn that if an individual commits mistake and the Party should not be the one to take the consequences. If I were to be sentenced for wrongdoing, it is I alone to bear the sentence and not the CPP.
I would also place my appeal today to members of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to take the highest patience. They have to defend themselves and retreat with dignity from any conflicts so as to allow the elections to go on in a peaceful and just manner. It is worth reminding that sometimes it is not a majority that threatens the minority, but vice versa. Look the situation after the elections in 2003 – the small threatened the big. They said no Hun Sen (in any political solution after the deadlock of the 2003 elections) but it is not they who decide, it is the people of Cambodia.
As it is the commune elections campaign will start tomorrow, I just warn those people that they should not come for my intervention anymore – take for instance those who want to strike a business deal seeking the Government’s permission for tax evasion and my response is that no tax evasion is permitted. When the Government urges for refund, the person seems to have implicated it to political matter. Today HE Koeum Sokha called me about his “Rights March” that was stuck in Siem Reap and I called HE Su Phirin the Governor of Siem Reap to let the march go on. In Cambodia, we have Rights March, Dharma March, etc. This is my interpretation of the situation, which does not violate the election law because it is not the campaign time yet.
As far as request for a panel discussion between candidates for the post of Prime Minsiter, I would make it clear today that there is no necessity for such a debate because CPP has only one candidate for the post and the CPP Congress of 1998 and 2003 made Hun Sen its candidate and proposed my candidacy already for 2008. My reason for not taking part in such a debate is that Hun Sen is a member of the CPP who has led the country for 28 years already and secondly the Cambodian people recognize Hu Sen as a candidate for the post of Prime Minister in the present and in the future terms. The people of Cambodia know full well of what is happening in this country and Hun Sen is part of it. What is important here is that candidate stands for the post and never becomes a Prime Minister that has to present him/herself to the people and as for me everything is clear already.
Cambodia is no longer painted to be blue, red or pink anymore. It is a united country where infrastructure is making steadfast improvement. Hun Sen with the leadership of CPP has brought the country its peace and this is yet to be proven by other candidates. Farmers tilt the land that the State imposes no tax and has other candidates ever made this happen as the CPP? If they were to do what has been mapped out by the CPP, they have no reason to be in opposition. CPP affirmed its position on land tax since when all political parties reached a Paris Peace Agreement – no tax on land between ten and 15 years if the CPP won the elections. If they were to make similar promise, it is no use for them to be an opposition and there is no point that people vote for them since it is following the same.
CPP cut out 56% of its fishing lot for the benefit of the people, are they going to do the same? If they promise so it is better to vote for Hun Sen. The same is true in its foreign policy as Cambodia has proven to resolve all differences with neighboring countries, and settle the border issues in a peaceful manner. Hun Sen brought Cambodia into ASEAN already and chaired the meeting of ASEAN summit too. Cambodia brought India to to be partner with ASEAN and a country that initiated the 15 anniversary of Cambodia-China relations in Nanninh. Hun Sen also brought Cambodia into the forum of Asia-Europe, WTO and other international organizations and we are in the process of making Cambodia a member of APEC as well.
HE Ambassador of China just mentioned about the Cambodian position toward China and this issue is very sensitive to China. I remembered the late HE De.ng Xiaoping said “I cannot smile at you when you shake hands with me but step on my feet at the same time”. One opposition party leader frequently visited Taipei in 2004 and it is not secret to anyone. In a few weeks past, an MP of an opposition party wrote to HM the King for the permission to establish a representation of Taipei in Phnom Penh. We have taken a serious stand in this matter and also the problem of Korea. The President of South Korea requested Cambodia to convey a message to North Korea that South Korea does not have ill intention against the North at all. We deliver the massage to North Korea…
Hun Sen does not have to rejoin in debate with any candidates that never become a Prime Minister at all. I just warn them that do not take this as a fear from Hun Sen because in my life I have taken more salt that rice in the peace negotiation and sometimes I was in a three to one position. What I want to make clear here is that if CPP is to win the elections, anyone could stay with us. As far as Royal family in politics is concerned, CPP does not bother to discuss anymore. Let it go the way it is. We are placed equal before the law. This means that it is equal in the parliament, in the Senate, in the Royal Government and also in prison.
To clarify issue of the throne, CPP has made it clear twice already – once, in 1993 when the monarchy no longer exists in Cambodia since 1970, not only by CPP alone but by four main political parties but the other three could not decide on this matter if it were not because of the participation from the CPP because the decision has to be made with the approval of two third majority in the parliament. This point should be clear as some people seem to have falsified that it is they who re-established the monarchy. Secondly in 2004, if CPP was not in favor of monarchy, it would not have approved a law in just one week to choose a successive King at all. Those who make these remarks never have been voting for the law.
The one who really protect the monarchy is the ruling party and do not be mistaken that this matter could be fulfilled by a few royalists at all. The monarchy should be considered belongs to everyone and not to a few Royalists and worse if it is used for making political profit against anyone. I would declare that what Hun Sen could not do and do not want to do is to have dual citizenship and I hold on to sole Cambodian citizenship. Could other candidates say the same? Could they declare leaving foreign national? Some not only hold foreign passports but even married foreign spouses. This is their rights. But let’s ask if they do not love the country and people, who could they love? We will have a law that requires them to clarify their property and I would seek the French Government to also help in this matter…/.
Samdech Hun Sen offers the College of Svay Antor a school building of 10 classrooms, a builing for sewing practice, a school building of six classrooms for the Priamary School of Chrey and a school building of six classrooms for the Primary School of Khyaok.