Monday, March 9, 2009

Keynote Address at the Ceremony to Launch the Construction of the National Road 62 from Tbeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear Temple, and Road Segment from t

Preah Vihear, 5 April 2008

- Your Venerable Monks,

- Her Excellency ZHANG JIN FENG, Ambassador of the Republic of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia,

- Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

- Distinguished National and International Guests,

- Dear Compatriots, Teachers, and Students!

Today it is my great pleasure and honor to once again join with Her Excellency the ambassador of the Republic of China to Cambodia in the ceremony to launch the construction of a segment of the National Road 62 from Tbeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear Temple and from the intersection of the National Road 62 to Srayorng-Koh Ke with the total length of 150.5 kilometers, which is jointly financed by the concessional loan from the government of China and counterpart fund of the government of Cambodia. Today is another historical event of Cambodia-China friendship and cooperation in which two National Roads will be built to serve the benefits of Cambodian people, especially people in Preah Vihear and northern parts of the country. In particular, these two National Roads' segments will also open new economic potentials for the people living along the Cambodia-Thai border and in the central part of the country.

Taking this magnificent opportunity, through H.E. Zhang Jin Feng the Ambassador of the Republic of China to Cambodia, on behalf of the RGC and people of Cambodia, I would like to express my profound gratitude to the people and Government of China, who we have considered as the great historic friend and major development partner for help to rehabilitate Cambodia in all sectors, especially in the development and rehabilitation of the transport infrastructure. In 2007, the Government of the Republic of China has provided USD200 millions concessional loan to construct two national roads and two major bridges crossing Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers. In addition, the government of the Republic of China has also offered USD100 millions in concessional loan for the construction of the National Road 57 from Battambang to Pailin, Cambodia-Thailand border, with the length of 103.14 kilometers, in which the ground breaking ceremony was held at the end of March, and the rehabilitation of the segments of the National Road 62 from Tbeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear Temple and Road 210 from the intersection of National Road 62 to Srayorng Commune-Koh Ke with the length of 150.5 kilometers, in which the ground breaking is held today. The rehabilitation of the National Road 62's segment is projected to spend USD57.8 millions of which 5% is government’s counterpart fund and government has to spend more on mine and unexploded ordinance clearance, land and residential compensations and taxes on construction equipments. This road is going to be built by using DBST technology and complying with the international standard and to be enlarged to 9 meter width. The rehabilitation will take 45 months and it is expected to be finished by the end of 2011.

Moreover, as the present for the fiftieth anniversary of the Cambodia-China Friendship and Cooperation, the Chinese government gave positively feedback to new concessional loan's proposal to build National Road 78 from O’Porngmon to Banlung. At the same time, experts from both countries already discussed the project for restoring segment of National Road 62 from Tbeng Meanchey to Kampong Thom, which is a very important road for connecting package tour from Preah Vihear Temple to Angkor Wat, Siem Reap.

Based on the aforementioned, I would like to express my highest appreciation and record the greatest kindheartedness of the Chinese people and government in the history of Cambodia in every generation. I hope that the Government of the Republic of China will continue to provide more concessional loan packages to restore National Roads and other important infrastructures in the near future.

Without a doubt, the restoration of National Road 62 and Road 210 are very beneficial and important to Cambodia’s economy and society as a whole. The particular benefits that I would like to highlight now are to the conservation and development of Preah Vihear temple and the development of Cambodian northern border. At the same time, I would like to ask for understanding from the people in Preah Vihear province and Northern regions since the Royal Government has not timely restored these national roads, which results in limited infrastructure development in this region and distant Preah Vihear Temple, a great achievement of six Khmer Kings, which took almost three centuries to build starting from the late 9th century and finished at the end of 12th century, away from Cambodian people as well as restricting the rapid development comparing to other areas. On the other hand, because Preah Vihear Temple can only be accessed via Thailand, Cambodia has lost ownership in development of this cultural and natural tourism site. Originated from these issues, I made a serious commitment to build this road in whatever cost during the full session of Council of the Ministers on the 27th July 2007 and instructed the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation to immediately assess project cost to build this national road from Tbeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear Temple. On 2nd August 2007, I approved in principle on the report made by the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation to restore the 116.3 kilometers of National Road 62 from Tbeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear Temple and 34.2 kilometers which connects from National Road 62 to Kam Sokheang Co.’s BOT Road in Srayorng Commune. Moreover, I advised the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation and construction company to immediately bulldoze the road to ease traffic flow and build concrete pathway to Preah Vihear Temple. The simultaneous works aimed to ease hard life of people in this area that wholly relies on border pass and make it easy for national and international tourists to visit the Preah Vihear Temple in the near future.

Through the restoration of this road, the northern region of Cambodia will be developed, new people will settle in this low population density and fertilized agriculture land will be cultivated which agriculture products will surely flow to the central regions. In this regard, bridges and roads are still our hope and necessary mean to promote economic growth and contribute to social development, especially tourism sector, which its revenue was about 17% of GDP in 2007 and about 1 million tourists visited different temples in Siem Reap provinces. The National Road 62's restoration project will directly promote tourism sector. Upon completion, it will be a strong backbone to provide opportunities for tourists who visit Siem Reap to continue their journeys to visit Preah Vihear Temple by passing through Bueng Melea Temple and Koh Ke, without the need to go through Thailand to visit Preah Vihear Temple. Moreover, this road will also facilitate Thai people who live in provinces along the Cambodian border such as Nokorreach, Boreyram, Sisaket and Obun provinces to visit Preah Vihear Temple and continue their trips to visit Siem Reap and other areas in Cambodia.

As I have often pointed out, Cambodia has overcome many domestic and international difficulties and challenges over the last decades. We have overcome these difficulties through our physical and mental sacrifice, strong determination and continuous efforts to build up our capacity to deal with all challenges and dangers. As a result, Cambodia has achieved full peace and all regions were integrated into one piece. The social order has been improved from day to day with good cooperation both interior and exterior affairs and the country is enjoying constant progress of development.

The concept of “Development for Conservation and Conservation for Development” is clearly reflected in the current context. The project to restore this road and the establishment of Preah Vihear Temple National Authority to conserve Preah Vihear Temple will bring about development in cultural and natural tourism and economy along borderline as well as protection of our sovereignty.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the people and Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to thank international friends and development agencies such as France, USA, Japan, Canada, India, Thailand, and UNESCO that have provided all kinds of support to include Preah Vihear Temple in the world heritage list. At the same time, I would also like to commend and encourage the close collaboration between the management and officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, Preah Vihear Temple National Authority, Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO and local authorities that make all necessary efforts to smoothly push for the construction of these roads.

Specifically, today gathering is only to launch the construction of National Road No. 62 to Preah Vihear Temple; more importantly, in next 45 months, we will gather again at the side of Preah Vihear Temple Mountain to inaugurate our new road. At that time, I believe that people living here or nearby, both local or foreigners, will join us to celebrate the inauguration of our historic road and pay our tribute to former Cambodian kings and heroes who built and inherited invaluable Preah Vihear and other temples to the future Khmer generations.

In this context, I would like to appeal to people living along these roads to continue providing good cooperation which is the good trait of Khmer in order to facilitate and smoothly complete the restoration of the National Road 62 and National Road 210 on time and according the plan. I also urge all levels of local authorities and armed forces to pay great attention and protection to this rehabilitation project.

Furthermore, I would like to congratulate and encourage Shanghai Construction Group General Co., project implementer for the rehabilitation project of National Road No. 62; and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co., Ltd, technical consulting firm to check construction, to be responsible in the successful construction of these important roads, ensure international standard quality and finish on or before the plan.

Finally, I would like to wish Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, compatriots, teachers, and students the five gems of Buddhist blessing during the upcoming Khmer New Year and I may now declare the launching of construction of National Road 62 from Tbeng Meanchey to Preah Vihear Temple, and National Road 210 from the intersection at National Road 62 to Srayorng-Koh Ke.


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