People to Benefit from the Bridge at Takhmao
I have a great pleasure today to be able to join with all of you â€“ Buddhist monks, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Ladies, Gentlemen and our compatriots â€“ to put into official operation the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge with an additional road segment that links the National Road 2 to the National Road 1, via this bridge across the river of Bassac. I am recalling that on 6 July 2011, I came for the groundbreaking ceremony to build this bridge. I also recalled that the ChargÃ© dâ€™Affaires of the Embassy of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China was here for the event while HE Pan Guangxue was not available. I also recalled that when HE Tram Iv Toek, Minister of Transports and Public Works read his speech to a point stating that the construction of the bridge would take up to 42 months, there was muttering sounds as an indication of dissatisfaction that it was too long.
As is reported by Minister HE Tram Iv Toek, the bridge construction was completed since 2014 and people were allowed to use the bridge twice already â€“ the Khmer New Years in 2014 and again in 2015. When we launched the groundbreaking ceremony, I was 59 years old. Now I am over 60 years of age already. No matter what, the bridge is here now for our people to benefit from using it. The bridge offers great benefit as it responds to the need of our people. We have studied thoroughly the socio-economic benefit of the bridge for peopleâ€™s life. I also remember that the loan (from the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China) for the construction of the bridge was signed at the time when HE Xi Jinping, then Vice President of PRC, visited Cambodia in 2009. He is now the Chinese President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. We used about 32 million USD of the 400 million USD fund package signed at the time. The Royal Government also provided counterpart fund to remedy impacts of the project and other works relating to de-mining and removing UXOs.
I am so proud that vision of our master plan to connect Cambodia internally has been prepared in advance. It has taken us quite some time but because we did not have capital, the plan had had to keep waiting. For the groundbreaking of the construction of the Jampuh Kaek pagoda, as I live not far from here on the other side of the river at Kompong Samnanh commune of Kandal, and to save a long detour trip to the pagoda for the ceremony very early morning the next day, I had to go there by speed boat. I also remember a day when I had to travel a detour to the bridge of Monivong to inaugurate the college of Serei Dey Doh. Thirdly, I also had to take a detour up the river to launch the construction of the road in a ceremony organized near to the Svay Banteal of Troey Sla commune.
I talked to students and teachers on that side of the river. Students on the eastern riverbank of Bassac, when there was not yet the college of Serey Dey Doh, had to take boat ferries to cross it to study at the college of Takhmao. As you would imagine that had been a difficult situation for people living around here. There is also issue of traffics relating to socio-economic activities of our city and country, especially in the field of transportation and peopleâ€™s travels. Our people no longer have to pay the ferry fee to cross the river anymore. I strongly hope that people who live and/or cross this bridge would appreciate how useful this bridge is for their lives.
In addition to those benefits, the residents of Takhmao town and the other side of the river of Bassac also appreciate the fact that the governor of Kandal will take the charge of installing electric lines and lightings, while the governor of Phnom Penh will take charge of electric fee. I appreciate this cooperation and I see this as a fruitful collaboration for our peopleâ€™s sake. Taking road transportation into consideration the bridge and line of road play very important roles not only to serve as connector between the National Road 2 and National Road 1 but also to evade traffic jams from the fact that means of transportation would have to travel across Phnom Penh, especially to/from the port of Phnom Penh.
Now that we have this access ready, transportation of goods will not need to go through the city as it closes down for trucks in daytime and this bridge and road will serve as shortcut for their travels. The benefit of this linkage is that from the port of Phnom Penh, transportation of goods can travel from national road 1 through to national road 2, to national road 3 and then national road 4 to get to the deep-sea port at Sihanouk province. They also can travel up to national road 5 without having to go through Phnom Penh. This is the benefit of internally infrastructural linkage. The other day I went to the pagoda of Jampuh Kaek with my wife. We returned this way. We got off and selfied on the bridge. The photo circulated widely on Facebook even before we got home.
Training of Demonstrators
As our people can see, to achieve this bridge and road, we had to bring in trainees from the peace keeping units that we prepared them for peace keeping missions in foreign countries â€“ Sudan, Lebanon, Mali, Central African Republic, and now Cyprus â€“ to practice here. They had to do this job of clearing mines and UXOs to guarantee that when foundation work was underway there would not be any incidents. The airborne forces unit of twelve soldiers came working here and discovered mines. This area of our country was a hot bed of warfare in time of war in 1970 through to 1975. On a 12 kilometers road, on a land surface of 819,120 square meters, they had discovered 219 unexploded ordnances, 18,185 pieces of shrapnel of all sorts. If the bridge and road project were not to come through here, you may imagine how many people could either die or maim from them.
I would like to take this opportune moment to express my sincere appreciation to the efforts made by the Ministry of Transports and Public Works and the Ministry of Economy and Finance for providing counterpart fund and negotiate for the signing of the agreement. I also thank the provincial authority of Kandal and the Municipality of Phnom Penh for their cooperation despite the fact there had been recently rearrangement of administrative boundary among them. Myâ€‹ â€‹thanks and appreciation goes to de-mining unit of the peacekeeping centre as well as the airborne troopers of platoon 911 and understanding given by people who are living along the project path.
There has one sort of training of demonstrators by some non-governmental organizations. They taught people how to run against the police force and women learnt to have their dresses disorganized before their trained photographers too. That is why I said TV crews could have mistakenly made footages of those trained demonstrators. They are professionals and they performed very well for cameras everywhere. They did all that here and went for medals in Washington or New York. Frankly speaking, those who are good at performing these demonstrations will have their awards given in the US. That was why some demonstrators were omnipresent in various issues. They have a group of people who are waiting to capture actions and post in Facebook.
That was unimaginably terrible. They care nothing about socio-economic interest of the country. They instigated people and fabricated false stories. I do not deny the fact that there have problems but let us identify them and resolve them in a proper manner.
5 Billion USD Cambodia-China Trade Volume in 2017
Coinciding with local integration and plan to connect Cambodia with countries in the regional framework, Chinese friend initiated fund of 40 million USD for a belt, the Silk Road Fund, declared by President Xi Jinping of China at the time when there was a discussion with various countries prior to the APEC meeting in Beijing last year. Cambodia is also a founding member of the Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank (AIIB) in which China also initiated a sum of 100 billion USD. Cambodia hopes to have access to the credit for new development projects. Cambodia already passed its yearly projects for loan to China. The Chinese Ambassador said she had shared trips with me eight times already in 2015. We still have three more to go though â€“ (1) the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge at Jroy Jangvar, (2) the groundbreaking ceremony to build in November a new road at â€œPass 400â€ in Samlot and in December, we will inaugurate another hydropower station in Koh Kong.
When she goes to work as diplomat on next mission, you will not be that busy as when you have been in Cambodia. As you can see, and I know you have been working as Ambassadors to many countries, when you are in Cambodia, you are busy only in helping us build and not politics. China does not have the habit of interfering in any countryâ€™s affairs. Her Excellency Chinese Ambassador does not bother with us on human rights or democracy but on socio-economic development and alleviation of poverty and hardships of our people. Some other countries have been busy at training of demonstrations. This year, in October, I will have a visit to make to China and Macao. Her Excellency Ambassador just told me that the proposed dates for the visit to Beijing and Macao have now readjusted. The Cambodian delegation can proceed to Beijing right after finishing our work in Macao.
China has made huge contributions for developing countries in Asia, Africa and/or Latin America. Cambodia is one of the Chinese comprehensive strategic partners. This requires deeper and even more effective cooperation in all fields, especially economic relations in way that we will have to make sure that by 2017 our two-way trade will reach 5 billion USD as foreseen by HE Xi Jinping and I in 2012. Our two-way trade has reached 3 billion USD and there was one year that it had gone above 5 billion USD. We are hoping to receive probably over half a million tourists from China since last year we already received 760,000 of them. I am looking for the arrival of about 1.3 million Chinese tourists to Cambodia or about 0.01% of the total population of China.
We will open new consular offices in China and there will be more direct flights from various destinations in China to Cambodia. As more Chinese come to Cambodia, they will pay for vegetables, fruits, accommodation, etc. That is what I used to say export to local demands. It does not need to cross the border. People can sell their eggs, meats, vegetable. This is marketplace creating for our people.
Requesting for Huo Sambatâ€™s Maps
I have heard lies everyday and ponder how could they hold power if they have proven bags of lies from now? I used to hear lies from Lon Nol and Pol Pot. Now again, I am hearing lies of politicians. I wish to take this chance to share with all of you and I am asking understanding of the Chinese representatives to say this very important thing. They blamed the Royal Government to have used a falsified maps and it has gone on for a long time. I sent a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations requesting for the Cambodian maps (that the former Cambodian Royal Government was) depositing at the United Nations.
Based on a number of exchanges I sent letters to the President of the United States of America requesting for maps that Cambodia sent to the US, and we are sure there are such maps in possession of the US according to the Airgram, which affirmed to have received from Mr. Huot Sambat, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. (The Airgram pointed that there had been) the 1/100,000 scale maps for Cambodian-Vietnam border, the 1/200,000 scale maps set by the Franco-Siam commission in 1094-1907 and the 1/300,000 scale maps for maritime.
In this instance, from this podium, I am sending a message to President (Barack) Obama that I am not asking for maps that the US designed for bombarding but those maps that the former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Huot Sambat of Cambodia sent to the US Embassy as stated in my letter to you. I understand that the US may have concern as some of the maps they had developed for military purposes. I am not asking for those ones. I just ask for the ones Cambodia sent and I am not asking to keep them with us but to borrow. I also asked for experts on maps to come along from France and the US.
As for the UK, we also learnt of relations between Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod with the UK Foreign Secretary. We have made clear in our letter to the UK that we are seeking to borrow those maps should there are any in their possession. We are sure that those maps rest in the US, but unsure they do in the UK. It is certain that France has those maps because they were the ones who drew them. France cannot deny that. They left them for Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos for use together. If the RGCâ€™s maps are false, where are the true maps?
According to primary information, for many days now, they have discovered only 18 pieces of the 26 pieces of map. They are maps that the RGC of the Sangkum Reastr Niyum used in suing the US and the Southern Vietnamese forces for their bombardments into the Cambodian territory to the United Nations. I think we are open to every map as long as they are available. We would put them on a table for a transparent verification process. Aside from the Royal Government, please invite the representatives from the Senate, political parties with seats in the National Assembly, the National Assembly, the Constitutional Council and the Council of Magistracy. I would not accept their claim the RGC has used falsified maps.
On What Thesis to Sue Vietnam
What wrong did I do? People who have said for me to sue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, if I may, please give me your thesis what and where is to sue about? I welcome opinions of lawyers for suggesting (that the RGC) to sue Vietnam to The Hague. However, please consider all aspects of it what and where to sue them. If one is not sure about it, one should reconsider. I have the need to reveal one more thing. I could not accept what I did not do as I belonged to the younger generation.
In 1964, the RGC sent maps to the US and the United Nations. As of now if anyone have properly authentic maps, please sent to the Royal Academy of Cambodia if they do not wish to send them to the RGC. Dr. Sok Touch is leading a research team there. They need maps and documents for verification. The RGC already sent what it has to the Royal Academy of Cambodia. They are independent research team who would state out right from wrong. However, those of you who suggested the RGC to sue Vietnam please come up with your thesis and show us the pros and cons of your theory. Let me just warn you on one point why Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod did not chose this way since he did it in the case of Preah Vihear, why not in the case of Vietnam?
I have the necessity to bring out an issue that I mentioned once in the National Assembly. We have made copies of maps from France and the United Nations long ago but now we are requesting for the original ones. We copied those ones in the United Nations since when (HE) Chem Vidhya was the RGC Ambassador to the UN. Then (RGC) sued the US bombardment in area of Dak Dam (in Mondulkiri province) to the UN. When we look at the maps, the borderline runs along Dak Dam. That proved the ones who signed the maps then already gave the 51 square Kilometers to Vietnam already. This serves as my explanation as to whether we should or should not bring the matter to the court. In 1914, the Governor General of Indochina made a decision that the borderline is to go along the river of Dak Hu.
Those who raised opinions to sue Vietnam, as you listened to this point, please explain to me what to do? I hold my mouth shut for too long. They scolded me and accused me of cutting land for Vietnam. Why Thailand lost legal battle to Cambodia? It started with maps. The maps agreed upon by the Franco-Siamese commission were to go along the waterline. When the French gave the drawn maps to Siam, they did not ask for correction but accept as they are all along. Hence, the court made decision in accordance with cause and law. They decided the Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia because it situates in the Cambodian territory according to the maps.
As for the case of Dak Dam and Dak Huyt, since when the French drew the maps, did the Cambodians ever protest? There had only been attempts to obliterate and redraw. They left the redrawn maps in Phnom Penh with the signature of Ngin Karet. When they sent them to the United States of America, they wrote to have drawn in accordance with the decision of the Governor General of Indochina. Now according to the map posted on Facebook, purchased at 168 USD, also shows the land is in the other side. The question is in this case, what happens if we were to sue Vietnam? Now, I am having a debate with Vietnam on the area not as a none-negotiable issue. According to you, shall we give it to Vietnam or shall we fight for it? Shall we sue them? I was only 12 in 1964 as I was born in 1952.
In Search of Authentic Maps
I am appealing to every political party to work out a national unity on these maps. Where else can we find maps that are different to the ones we have? Do they want to suggest the unconstitutional ones? If the Constitution stipulates that the Kingdom of Cambodia to use the 1/500,000 scale maps, I would not hesitate to annul the treaty with Vietnam. However, the article 2 of the Constitution dictates that the territorial integrity of the Kingdom shall absolutely defined in the 1/100,000 scale maps between the years 1933-1953 and internationally recognized between the years 1963 and 1969. Now, whoever has maps may want to give out now. If they hate me, they may want to give them to HM the King in the Royal Palace. They should no longer blame me. If anyone has maps deemed to be original and do not give out, those people are cheating and I will not rule out use of legal action.
If they do not deceive our people, I am calling on all of them to make the authentic maps available to HM the King should they not want to give it to the RGC. We will do whatever it takes to clarify this issue. If the United Nations does not allow the maps out of the premises, we would have to organize a delegation from Phnom Penh that comprises of representatives of party outside the RGC and relevant institutions. The RGC is prepared to cover the cost of travelling and accommodation. If the French do not allow too, we would have to send our delegation to France for the verification. If the UK were to have and do not allow them to go out, we would do the same.
We do whatever it takes in search of authentic maps. They are so cunning. As they ran out of tricks, they resort to nationalism. I will not forgive as I have open up this wide and they continue to act dishonestly. They said those maps in the RGCâ€™s possession are falsified, then where are the authentic ones. They should not practice their methods of shaking hands with us while stepping and squeezing on our foot.
Bring to Court Those Involved in 15-July-2014 Event
I cannot give you a smile when you shake my hands while your foot steps and squeezes mine. I also will not allow political matters to extinguish criminal charges. The other day I ordered the police chief General Neth Savoeun, Governor of Phnom Penh to search for, according to the statement of the Royal Government on 15 July, which still carries validity, those involved in the event, especially this woman that performed kicking on others. You may want to view the scene recorded and find and bring her to justice. I told HE Sam Rainsy that footages provided including also ones made available by his people.
There has been invitation order from the court to seven other people. I am not threatening them. The court has summoned them and I urge that they present themselves or sentences would go in absentia. That means you have abandoned your rights to defend yourselves. Consequentially, they say the Royal Government is using the court to silence opposition. You and those who claimed to be human rights groups attacked other people, what shall happen to them? Do they have rights to their side alone? Anyone on the side of the authority and ruling party are wrong still, even if they are beaten. Either those of ruling party or party outside the Royal Government, whoever uses forces on other will have to take charge.
There is no such thing that a political agreement overrides criminal offense in court. It is not similar to the Paris Peace Agreement that obliged release of prisoners of war and political prisoners. All sides had prisoners of war in those days of armed conflict. The Agreement stipulates clearly. Some said that failing to annul the treaty with Vietnam is a violation of the Paris Peace Agreement. That is not true. The Paris Peace Agreement has had all of its elements covered in the Constitution. Could you point out how to go about suing a member of the Paris Peace Agreement? How is the meeting to convene? That was how we avoided, in the case of Thailand, and brought it to the attention of the Security Council of the United Nations and then The Hague. Now with Vietnam, where is the reason to bring it to the Security Council or to The Hague?
They gave interview on radio that (I) dare not sue Vietnam. Hun Sen already did on the border issue with Thailand to the Security Council and The Hague. If Vietnam were to abuse to a certain limit, I will sue them to the Security Council and The Hague too. Please tell us where and what shall we sue Vietnam? What are the factual and legal arguments? Give us your thesis, if not directly to the RGC, you may want to do it through HM the King.
General Elections to Hold in the Fourth Week of 2018
I just send them a message while they continue to brag about their victory and vote rigging. I have the need to declare that the 2018 general elections will be in the fourth weeks of 2018 â€“ not before or after. Initially, I thought we might need to take into consideration weather factor and reschedule the date for the general elections to an earlier date. On 22 July, I suggested that we should move the electoral date to the fourth week of February. They refused and said leave it to a later date to decide. These days, their people have gone around talking about the fact that it was because they joined the National Assembly that (1) there is a new National Election Committee and (2) there is culture of dialogue, permission to set up radio and TV. They would also say it was because they joined the National Assembly that they could reschedule the election date to five months earlier. Now I will not allow it.
Let us leave enough time for some newly established parties to get themselves ready. There is a new party established yesterday. They are welcome for a race. When one party promises to raise pay to a degree, the other one may want to promise more. In Thailand, the former Prime Minister has to face trial because of promise made leading to loss of money. If they wanted to have elections before schedule, there is a need to amend the Constitution. The Cambodian Peopleâ€™s Party resolutely objects to amendment of the Constitution. We will keep on with the fourth week of July so you will not have chance to brag about it.
Let all political parties, new and old, get ready for Jul 2018 for the national general elections. As for the communal elections, they will rest in the rights of the Prime Minister (to decide). In 2012, the communal council elections were in June. We may hold it one month early or after the Khmer New Year. It would not be a big deal. They have demanded early date for the elections, we agreed to it since April 9. They then did not want to fix the date. Now that there are many political parties given birth, they say every one of them has had a hand of Hun Sen in it. A party, whose leader is in the United States and (the court has) acquitted him, they said the acquittal did not seem to be right and there could be something behind. However, the one who said all these, he had his party established with help of Hun Sen in 2007. It was true.
Well, today I have sent a package of message. If they were to seek earlier date for the elections, it has had to amend the article 78 of the Constitution – â€œâ€¦ the legislative term of the Assemble shall be 5 years and terminates on the day when the new Assembly convenes. The Assembly shall not be dissolved before the end of its term … The election of a new assembly shall be held no later than 60 days from the date of dissolution …â€ The end of the term will be July 2018. We then will hold the general elections in July. Today I am responding to in one package to your tour spreading lies.
Hun Sen of Cambodia in Every Element
Can we not have honesty in politics? At one time, they said I am a puppet of Vietnam and another time, a puppet of China. It was because of the South China Sea issue. Now I can say some people then said what I did that Code of Conduct of the South China Sea was not possible was not right. Now I asked a question in return, had those who chaired the ASEAN meeting before me â€“ like Vietnam and Indonesia, done anything on that issue? Brunei, Myanmar and Malaysia chaired consecutively ASEAN in 2013, 2014 and 2015, has that issue been resolved? Judging these, Hun Sen did nothing wrong. It was because Cambodia was poor and small they rebuked us and blamed us for being biased toward China.
In fact, I did not favor any side. All I needed was for ASEAN-China to continue to negotiate and act according to the Declaration on (the Conducts of Parties in) the South China Sea (DOC) while working toward achieving COC. We wish to see related countries to dialogue. I even directly told the Prime Minister of Japan that let us encourage all related parties to talk out their differences. Frankly speaking, even though there were to be COC, who could then exercise maritime delimitation for related parties. Vietnam would definitely conduct the delimitation with China and Vietnam would do so with the Philippines, and China would do it bilaterally too.
Why did they give us a hard time? While foreigners rebuked us, our Cambodians also blamed the countryâ€™s position and accused us of being too close to China. Now, have those countries who are not close to China resolved the problem? As I am talking about this, I think I see that COC will not be ready even by 2018 or 2020. Even though it will, related countries will have to work it out among them.
They said I am a puppet of Vietnam, China â€¦ but I am telling you one thing Hun Sen maintain his element as the Hun Sen of Cambodia. In 1982, I was in France and many newspapers wrote that I was the young Communist foreign minister. When I was in Moscow, they classified us in the group of developing countries. As for Vietnam and China, frankly speaking, there is only one point that they have disagreement on â€“ the South China Sea. Aside from this, they have good trading relations with each other â€“ roughly 40 billion USD or over half of the trade volume of Vietnam./.