In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Techo Hun Sen made impromptu comments on a few issues as followed:
I wish to bring up a few things in relation to tree planting. Some of you may have remembered that I have initiated what is called the marriage park, where trees are to be planted when people get married. The first of its kind was conducted in Kraing Yov commune, which has then replicated to other places. The movement has been in place for a while. It seems to have neglected now. I wish to see the movement come back. At various tourist destinations, we should encourage newly married couple to plant tree. Our problem is action is taken when I mention about it and it dies down when I do not recall.
Let us do it in a sustainable manner. We could have a park somewhere in pagodas for them to plant trees. Please keep public place for the newly married couple to plant trees for their memories. It is a good souvenir. We initiated the movement in 1995 at Phnom Ta Pek in the Kraing Yov commune of Kandal province. It was when I conducted a pilot project of rural development there.
Stoeung (River) Chhay Areng
As we have heard so often these days about Stoeung Chhay Areng, let me say a few words about it. In order to find out what potential does Chhay Areng has and what sort of impacts there may be should development project be introduced, we had had to send in a survey team. Public authority was surrounded and arrested. I have written to explain the National Assembly things regarding this development. There is no confirmation as to what are we going to do to the river. We only conduct a survey. Some has striven to prove they love Cambodia more than the Cambodians do to their own, while we live and die on our land.
I have read SMS exchanges between HE Jean Francoise Cautain, EU Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, and HE Say Sam Al, Minister of Environment, which have been forwarded to me. I found it so absurd. When I last met you, HE Jean Francoise Cautain, I recalled about the fact that the Europeans who have cut off their forests have advised Asia (on that matter). I travelled from Paris to Brussels and I saw not a single tree standing. They did for the sake of developing Europe. We are open for recommendations but they should not be too extreme.
Any development project would have environmental pressure. We are making efforts to reduce it. Let us talk about oil. Are there not impacts on environment under seabed when we extract crude oil? As for the Chhay Areng river, we need to conduct a thorough study. Whatever the results the study will come up, between now and 2018, we will not start anything. As for my opinion, I would rather leave this issue for younger generation to carry on. I would bring up again the issue of Titanium at Ji Phaat. According to our estimate, there are 20 billion USD worth of Titanium underneath some 20,000 hectares forest.
On top of that, Ji Phaat is a crossing point for elephants in our country. If we were to go for titanium, we would have lost forest, polluted the sea water and caused destruction to marine species. We have balanced between economic and environmental interest. Please understand that Cambodians have got their own mind thinking about nation as well. HE Jean Francoise Cautain, Cambodia would not repeat what the European had done to their countries in terms of forest destruction. We also learnt from your experience. How could you imagine that countries in Europe have not got forest like they are now long ago?
I would not talk about the issue behind our back. I talk on TV. Some countries use nuclear fuel to produce energy or electricity on the ground that it creates less environmental problem. However, the case of Chernobyl of the former Soviet Union and Fukushima of Japan, the world was in shock. In Cambodia, we build hydropower station and produce low-price electricity they make a mess about it. When we do not produce sufficient electricity for consumption they blame us for its high price.
I have two statements of similar theory to (the US President Barack) Obama and (the UN Secretary General) Ban Ki Moon. I told Obama whatever they do to weaken the Assad’s regime naturally it will give supremacy to ISIS. When I talked to Ban Ki Moon at the side of the ASEAN Summit, I said fighting ISIS and Assad at the same time is a mathematic of one minus one equal nil. The same here, while needing sufficient and low price electricity but they are against the development of hydropower station.
Three Flowers Is Good for Kompot
I wish to say one thing about the city of Kompot, which I see has been ranked a three flowers (the best competing contestant for clean) city. When we initiated the contest, and judging from when I was there in 2012, at the time of the plane crash that killed Korean and Czech citizens, I find it a surprise that Kompot has taken the top position. By 2012, compared to 1980s, Kompot did not show any changes at all. I would encourage HE Khoy Khun Huor to make further efforts.
As for the city of Takhmao of Kandal province, I would urge the new governor to figure out city development. There have bushes of grass all along the Mekong River. They should also pay attention in improving their Ta Khmao river too. How could it secure a second place? I think one flower mark is more appropriate. We have changed so many governors but they do not seem to have a better plan for city development. Everyone must participate to make it a working plan.
I thank the Republic of Korea for the construction of the National Road 3, which link Kompot with the capital city of Phnom Penh. The NR 3 and a few other roads have been helping the province and city of Kompot and the city of Kep develop.
Cambodia Is Nobody’s Waste Bin
As far as investment in Cambodia is concerned, I have denied one for the production of plastic, using available local materials or in case of unavailability, importing from abroad. I am sure HE Cham Prasidh, Minister of Industry and Handicraft, remembers. Secondly, production of engine oil too. In case of insufficiency, they ask for rights to import reprocessing oil from abroad. They have said there are many countries that they can invest in but they love Cambodia more. I said they see us as a waste bin. Is Vietnam or Thailand unintelligent that they do not allow such factory to invest in their country?
For plastic investment seeking company, we have conducted an investigation and found that certain environmental activists have had their stake in there. The Ministry of Industry and Handicraft had approved then for them to set up factory by the side of the river. I disagreed. If any leakage into the river were to happen, our river would be polluted./.