Along with the prepared text, Samdech Techo Hun Sen made additional impromptu comments that CNV is selecting and translating unofficially as followed:
Filling Trenches, Building Hotels
As far as command base is concerned, let us not be extreme. There has been this comments that Hun Sen is filling up all the strategic trenches. I then asked them back what defines a strategic trench. How could a trench be strategic when it sits only 200 meters away from the border? They call it strategic. Well, my policy is to fill up those trenches. As you may have learnt that there used to be trenches in the whole of Cambodian territory, Phnom Penh included. I fill them all up. Why do we need them? We fill them up and build hotels, houses, farms, etc.
We only have trenches in military areas. Wherever we can we fill them up. Where we need them we keep. Take Poi Pet for instance, who would deny trenches existed there? Now they are no more. We have made the place a city. We are replacing trenches by factories, markets, and farms. There is no need for us to move weapons here or there like in Ukraine. I am talking about some places that we should not make wrong statements. Some of us, when there is something unhappy about, always bring up this strategic trench in position. We can build if we need to.
I have put out this principle of transforming battlefields into development zones and building peace, friendship, cooperation and development in border areas. We must hold on to this principle otherwise where we are sitting now is also a trench. What do we expect if we consider everyone around us enemy. We then had to get ready for a fight. Then our troops will be deployed for mosquito bites. While we are getting ourselves ready for military actions, we also need to know about politics and good neighborliness. If they do not have bad intention towards us we also must treat them with friendship. In border area, a bad leader would be comparative to a bad mine. When then bad person is no longer in power, there would not be a threat of war or mine anymore.
Working Military Tactics, Acquiring Political Knowledge
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for National Defense HE Tia Banh brought up this issue of maintenance of military equipments that are accumulated from different generations and with different quality. This has called for more funds (for maintenance and care). Please discuss with the Ministry of Economy and Finance. It is lucky that Cambodia was not too excited to build up its air force. We had MIG 21 Bison aircraft which requires 350 tons of fuel per year. I cut it down from 350 tons to 280 tons per aircraft. This has not yet included maintenance. Some countries experienced aircraft crash. They bought old ones. We do not need to showcase aircraft in our possession but the weapons to take them down.
Cambodia would not fight in the air. My strategy is to set a sky net. What is that? As far as aircraft is concerned, when they are in high altitude, there is very little chance they would be doing harm to us. When they descend to lower altitude, we have various kinds of weapons to take them. With what we have we need to do a lot of maintenance and care.
HE Tia Banh just mentioned about the need to further reform from 2015 through to 2020. Let me inform all military officials that by the year 2018, the minimum salary for civil servants, the armed forces will not be less than one million Riel. I am aiming to set the date for payday for the month of April, Khmer New Year and the month of salary increment, to no later than April 10. Let me be clear here that those of you who are in higher ranks are not going to get the increase. In fact the budget for military in Cambodia spends more on social affairs than firearms. We spend mostly on staff and training, healthcare.
Effective Response on Migrant Workers Crisis from Thailand
(With regard to helping solve the migrant workers returning from Thailand) After I met with HE Tia Banh and General Pol Saroeun, Chief of General Staff, only hours after my order, the military transport division appeared to have helped transport our workers returning from Thailand in tens of thousands. I felt very satisfied with their effective and efficient response. I am pleased to see the rapid response of our armed forces of all kinds. They reported to duty once they get order.
Let me share with you that Cambodia ranks 36 among 122 countries that send troops to foreign countries. Bangladesh ranks top as the country that send the most troops, followed by India and Pakistan, respectively. In the framework of ASEAN, Indonesia ranks top, followed by Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei. As far as assessment by gender is concerned, we rank number one in ASEAN since we sent large number of female soldiers. The Secretary General of the United Nations HE Ban Ki-moon requests that Cambodia send more female soldiers, especially female military police./.