January 27, 2010
Your Venerable Monks,
Your Excellencies Senators, Members of the Parliament and Members of the Royal Government,
Your Excellency Zhang Jinfeng, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia,
Excellencies Ambassadors of Friend Countries, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests,
Dear all Compatriots!
It is my great pleasure to be here once again with H.E. Zhang Jinfeng, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, to meet venerable monks, elders, officials of local authorities, members of armed force, and all compatriots in the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the National Road No. 62 from Kampong Thom to Tbaeng Meanchey, which is financed by the concessional loan from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and Royal Government’s own contribution. Taking this great opportunity, as we are moving closer to the Chinese New Year’s Eve, I would like to request H.E. Zhang Jinfeng to convey the best wishes and profound gratitude from the Royal Government and people of Cambodia to the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China, a long-standing historic friend of Cambodia, who have always supported us in all sectors, including the construction of key pro-growth infrastructure such as transport, irrigation, electricity and human development to accelerate growth, social development and poverty reduction in Cambodia. Currently, China is the leading source of finance for Cambodia. In particular, the construction and rehabilitation of nationwide roads and bridges financed by the People’s Republic of China, both completed and ongoing projects, can be estimated around 1,500 km long. This kind-heartedness, adding to our already long-standing relationship, I, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, would like to extend deepest gratitude and mark it in Cambodia’s history.
Comparing with other national road projects, the construction of this road is the last event though it has been severely damaged. The reason behind this is that the Royal Government has limited resources and development partners overlook it due to low traffic and lack of study. However, under the current circumstance, the restoration and construction of this road will bring enormous benefits to the people and represent another achievement of internal integration effort to link all provinces with the Municipality of Phnom Penh. It is our strategy to develop the northern part of Cambodia, an ex-battlefield and a border area, and have it transformed into a fully developed and peaceful area and make it more accessible for people of other areas.
The whole Preah Vihear province and part of Kampong Thom, Utdor Meanchey and Steung Treng, besides being a natural tourism destination and having vast economic potentials, is also rich in mineral resources. Therefore, the construction and restoration of the National Road No. 62 creates “golden opportunity” for intra-area linkage and linking to Siemreap to attract both domestic and foreign tourists to visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s priceless cultural heritage and one of the World’s Wonder, which will result in more employment opportunities and improved income for the people. This also takes part in the Royal Government’s effort of socio-economic development, national defense and poverty reduction.
Although we have gained peace, during war time and for a certain period of time roads had been totally destroyed and cut, as such accidents and insecurity usually happened. It was very hard to pass by because some links were riddled with many holes and gradually broken by flood from the mountain; as a result, metal and wooden bridges were gravely damaged and sometimes even taken away by the water in rainy season. This hardship had lingered for longest time until last several years that links had been reconnected to facilitate traffic. And now, the People’s Republic of China has come to end this hardship by providing loan for road reconstruction in big scale and increase quality to international standard in order to prepare this road to take role as road of East-West Corridor of Greater Mekong Sub-region in the future. Indeed, rehabilitation and repairing link of National Road No.62, for which we are opening construction site, is a complete construction of network of national road 62 and 210 which is constructed by Shanghai Construction Group of China with the objective to simultaneously connect Siem Reap Province and Preah Vihea Temple, which is the Khmer national cultural heritage and international heritage at Cambodian-Thai border. Furthermore, it can facilitate freighting flow, trade in agricultural and industrial products and tourism, promotion of cooperation with neighboring countries and development of The Emerald Triangle area of Cambodia-Lao-Thailand, which is core link to Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle.
Under any circumstances, the Royal Government is fully committed to employing all kinds of tactics to promote socio-economic growth in order to successfully carry out platform of poverty reduction of people nation-wide. The Royal Government still maintains stance that rehabilitation and development of transportation infrastructure of land route, waterway, railway, airway and port are prioritized policy which is to be paid attention and actively promoted. Because roads and bridges are indispensible means and are the locomotive of socio-economic growth to enhance livelihood of our people as the slogan puts as” having road is having hope”. With good roads, our people can transport and exchange goods and products to markets quickly, cheaply, in bulk and with quality.
When we have good roads, we could attract investors to invest in all sectors such as industry, agriculture, tourism as well as creating more jobs for our people. It is also convenient for people to travel to schools, hospitals and to have access to other public services, especially the transferring of good nurses and teachers to remote areas and to effectively protect our territory integrity.
At the same time, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I would like to thank the Governments and people of our friend countries and development partners, who always provide support either through finances, materials or strong encouragement to rebuild and develop Cambodian socio-economy, especially through road reconstruction and building transportation infrastructure. I would also like to congratulate, support and motivate leaders, officials and staff of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, local authorities and related institutions, who have always helped to cooperate and facilitate to successfully achieve the strategic plan formulated and assigned by the Royal Government.
I would like to congratulate and firmly hope that Shanghai Construction (GROUP) General Company and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co.; Ltd of China, who won the bid as the project implementer and supervise the road construction, leaders, officials and technical staff of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, who are the project owners, will be further committed to cooperating and carrying out their duties successfully, with high quality of road to be in compliance with regional technical standards, and timely or before the project deadline by the end of 2014. I would like to congratulate and recommend related ministries, institutions, local authorities and all people, who live along this road, to cooperate and facilitate the road construction to be timely, effective with high quality.
I would also like to remind our people about the road safety by paying more attention, while driving and riding, and firmly respecting the traffic laws. When the road is not good, people drive or ride slowly, when the road is good, they tend to drive or ride fast, many means of transport, high traffics and overload damage roads. Overload is very bad, it destroys our roads and bridges within a short time and the Royal Government has to spend a lot of budget, saved for the development of other sectors, to repair and maintain roads and bridges. Therefore, I would like to encourage our people to take strict actions against the overloaded transport and continue these measures as drizzle to preserve our hard-earned achievement for long term and sustainable transportation.
Finally, along with official inauguration of “National Road No.62 from Kampong Thom to Tbaeng Meanchey”, I would like to wish Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests, officials, armed forces, teachers and all students the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.