Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Address at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Construction of the 128 Km National Road No. 62 from Kampong Thom to Tbaeng Meanchey

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.

Address at the Inauguration of the “Phnom Penh-Daegu-Gyeongbuk Culture and Tourism Center”

Phnom Penh, January 26, 2010

Your Excellency LEE KYUNG-SOO, Ambassadors of the Republic of Korea to Cambodia,

Your Excellency KIM KWAN-YONG, Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-Do Province,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests!

It is my pleasure to be here to inaugurate the “Phnom Penh-Daegu-Gyenogbuk Culture and Tourism Center” of the Phnom Penh city. This represents another achievement, stemming from joint effort of Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Municipality and Korea’s Gyeongsangbuk-Do Province within the framework of close cooperation between both countries. Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia and on my own behalf, I would like to extend my profound gratitude to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for the support given to the construction of this center. Along with this, I would also like to convey my appreciation to H.E. Deputy Prime Minister SOK ANN, Minister of the Office of the Council of Ministers, and Excellency Governor of the Phnom Penh Municipality as well as related institutions, local authorities, and people of Phnom Penh for their hard work and firm commitment that result in many significant achievements, including this one. This newly-built center, besides serving culture, tourism and trade purposes, is an indication of strong cooperation between the people and governments of both countries.

This center is indeed another outcome of the cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Korea. In this sense, I strongly support and encourage all cooperation between both countries that will bring about new achievements to accelerate Cambodia’s socio-economic development. Along with this, I would also like to extend my warmest welcome to H.E. KIM KWAN YONG, Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-Do Province and colleagues. I would also like to thank H.E. LEE KYUNG-SOO, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Cambodia, who have coordinated and facilitated multi-sectoral cooperation between both countries. As a development partner, the Republic of Korea has been instrumental in Cambodia’s pursuit of development including grants, concessional loans, investment in finance and infrastructure and exchange of culture through cultural events and tourist flow. Moreover, the official visit of H.E. LEE MYONG-BAK, President of the Republic of Korea, in October 2009 was an encouragement for Korean investors and a signal of strong cooperation between Cambodia and Korea.

This center is indeed a result of the successful Angkor-Gyeongju Expo 2006, which was jointly organized by Cambodia and Korea’s Gyeongsangbuk-Do Province. Following this successful event, there is an initiative to build the center. Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism and Gyeongsangbuk-Do then singed an MOU on tourism and culture cooperation, and the Phnom Penh-Daegu-Gyeongbuk Center standing here is an indication of this cooperation. In this spirit, I would like to urge other Cambodian provinces, especially those with tremendous potential in tourism, to assess the possibilities of further cooperation with Korea.

The Cambodia-Korea joint culture center will display the ancient and rich culture of both countries and I believe that all tourists who are coming to visit Phnom Penh city will be well aware of the culture, tradition of Cambodia and Korea as well as receiving information from various tourism resorts through extensive information dissemination. This center will become a place for showing the cultural products, artifacts, artistic craftsmanship, drawings and the tourism potential of the four prioritized areas, which include cultural and historical tourism sites, Phnom Penh city, beaches, and the eco-tourism sites in the northeast parts, full of historical, cultural and natural tourism resorts in order to show the national and international tourists to understand about the values of the culture, tradition, and natural resources in Cambodia, which is suitable to be the Kingdom of Wonder and is based on the Cambodia Tourism Policy, which is Cultural and Natural Tourism. Along with that, this center will also show the opportunity for investment and trade between Cambodia and Korea.

Furthermore, this center will become the tourism information center that plays significant role in providing factual information to the national and international tourists about security, safety, services of the tourism sites as well as providing advice related to the development of tourism in the Kingdom of Cambodia now and in the future. The progress in tourism sector will accelerate growth in other sectors as well because tourism sector is the industry that is interconnected among sectors such as telecommunication, transport, the renovation and development of infrastructures, enhancement and diversification of agriculture and the expansion of international trade relations. These tasks are the interconnected and push and pull factors and mechanisms, contributing tremendously to the job creation and income generation for the people in order to gradually improve their living standard.

For Cambodia, the tourism sector has become the prioritized sector of the economic policy and the energetic impetus for socio-economic development of Cambodia. The development of tourism sector has actively contributed to the creation of jobs for the people, promoting the economy to be more balanced for trade, and the essential source for currency revenue. These are the excellent opportunity for Cambodia to transform itself to be tourism, cultural, social and natural center, which is new tourism destination of Southeast Asia, a center of fast growth in tourism sector of the world today. The Kingdom of Cambodia has tremendous potential for tourism for the development of tourism sector, based on the foundation of cultural, historical and natural resources, and the efforts made by the people and related institutions, development partners and private sector under the Cambodian tourism policy. At the same time, our Country enjoys peace and political stability, security, safety all over the Kingdom, which is the favorable pre-condition to contribute to the development of all sorts of infrastructures to ensure sustainable progress in tourism sector as well as maintaining the truly maximum interest for the people.

In fact, the evolving progress of Cambodian tourism sector truly comes from the active efforts made by all institutions, related institutions, all levels of local authorities, development partners, private sector and the support from our people. In the year 2008, international tourist arrivals to Cambodia were 2,125 465 people, increasing 5.5% compared to 2007, and within the first 11months of 2009 there were 1, 926 615 tourist arrivals, increasing 1.60%, compared to the same period in 2008. Along with that, local tourism movement has also been moving remarkably. In 2008, about 6.73 million local tourists visited various tourist resorts nationwide. Along with the increase in tourism, the income from tourism sector also increased with the noticeable rate, by increasing from USD 578 million in 2004 to USD 1, 595 million in 2008 by creating about more than 300, 000 jobs and contribute about more than 12.5% of the GDP. The income from tourism sector is the immediate injection of the foreign currency to the Cambodian current economy, which is the market economy, and this income is integrated into all composition of the economy. This tourism revenue has significantly contributed to make Cambodia achieve macro-economic stability and its economic development. Moreover, tourism revenue supports the development of other sectors such as agriculture, trade, infrastructure, as well as helping to promote the small and medium enterprise in Cambodia, and this revenue has become foreign investment capital with no interest through the spending of the tourists. In this connection, the tourism revenue will also support the development of culture and maintenance of environment such as Angkor of Siem Reap province could be set as an example.

In actuality, the whole world today has not been out of the global economic and financial crisis yet. Cambodia has been receiving impact from this crisis, therefore, the Royal Government has set out short-term, medium-term and long-term measures, and has been actively implementing with the participation from all development partners in order to mitigate these negative impacts from this crisis.

The Royal Government has taken a number of priority measures in order to protect the vulnerability of the financial and economic issues, especially the measures to mitigate the impacts from the society, employment and revenue.

All measures has been formulated and carried out to stabilize macro-economy by implementing fiscal policy to accelerate growth, prudent fiscal policy, promoting systematic reforms, capacity building, and professional training to improve business environment, tourism, and local investment. These will bring more trust from visitors and domestic and foreign investors. Additionally, the Royal Government has carried out the existing social safety net program and other programs to help the poor and vulnerable people, who have been impacted by the crisis.

In this context, I would like congratulate and appreciate Korean visitors and investors who have made the right decision to visit and to invest in all sectors in Cambodia. These activities have significantly contributed to economic development in Cambodia.

Once again, I highly appreciate our good cooperation between Cambodia and Korea, especially Phnom Penh city and Gyeongsangbuk-Do Province, which brings about this pride today. I think this cultural centre will be the model centre, the main centre, the main door in Cambodia for information in tourism, investment and business to Koreans and all people around the world. This centre will enhance our relationships in culture, tourism and trade between Cambodia and Korea and other countries as well.

Before ending, I would like to appeal to all relevant ministries, institutions, development partners, private sector and all people to continue strongly supporting and promoting culture and tourism in Cambodia.

Finally, along with the official inauguration of this “Phnom Penh- Daegu Gyeongbuk Cultural,Tourism and Business Centre”, I would like to wish His Excellency Lee Kyung Soo and His Excellency Kim Kwan Yong, their colleagues and Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests the four gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

Keynote Address at the Inauguration of the “Sugarcane Factory”

Koh Kong, January 25, 2010

Your Venerable Monks,

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen distinguished national and international guests,

Dear the compatriots,

It is my great pleasure to be here to inaugurate the sugarcane factory which is a joint investment of Koh Kong Industry Co., Ltd. and Koh Kong Plantation Co., Ltd. This factory, which is located in Chi Kor Leu Commune, Sre Ambil District of Koh Kong Province, in addition to its dynamic contribution to development effort and improved living standard, will transform this area into a production base for domestic supply and export markets and subsequently a developed border zone. In this sense, we are proud of this achievement since it will be a source of new opportunities of socio-economic development including productivity improvement, job creation, and local development.

I highly welcome the investment of both companies while Cambodia is in great demand of contribution from the private sector, as I have often said “private sector is the engine of growth”. I would also like to encourage the implementation of this investment project, both in-farm and off-farm work, so that the business will succeed. The successful operation of this factory will send a signal of favorable and predictable investment environment to international investors. I highly appreciate all companies investing and operating in Cambodia amid the global financial and economic crisis. Along with this, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the Royal Government’s firm stance on welcoming ad encouraging investment in Cambodia. We will strive to strengthen and expand economic cooperation and broaden industry and trade development through the elimination of trade barriers. This task will allow us to raise the capacity and quality of domestic production, and improve Cambodia’s competitiveness in the regional and global markets. Along with this, I would also like to extend my appreciation to related ministries/institutions, local authorities, government officials, armed forces and all the compatriots for their concerted effort to solve smoothly any issue arising from the construction of this factory and create a favorable environment to attract new investment projects.

Prices of agricultural products will increase both for today and tomorrow since the demand for human consumption is gradually increasing and rising oil price makes the use of some agricultural products relatively more attractive for energy production. This represents a new opportunity for a country with vast agricultural potentials like Cambodia but a threat to those without this advantage, especially poor countries. Considering this perspective, Cambodia prioritizes human consumption demand while energy production demand is also taken into account, like what we are doing in this area.

Agriculture represents a big chunk of growth but we fail to maximize gain from this sector due to underutilization of arable land, limited diversification and lack of production means and technologies. In fact, if we look at the sugar cane plantation, Cambodian farmers have practiced the mixed sugar plantation of about 13,297 hectars by receiving the yield of about 385,588 tons in 2008. But, this crop has not been processed into substantial and industrialized products yet. It is just to serve the daily need of the people’s living. Cambodia has, so far, had small enterprises for palm sugar production in order to meet the small demand of the people in their daily living. Through this, Cambodia does not have sufficient sugar to meet the need of the people nation-wide and Cambodia is necessarily importing the white sugar and many thousand tones of sweet products, in particular, from Thailand and Vietnam. According to the report in 1990, Cambodia needed the sugar of 43,000 tons, equal to 5 kg for each individual per year among the 8,6 million people and in the year 2000 Cambodia needed the sugar of 80,300 tons, equal to 7,3 kg for each individual per year among the 11 million people. Recently, based on the statistic in the year 2007, Cambodia imported the sugar and other sweet products from 18 countries in total of 30,340 tons. Based on this data it is shown that Cambodia needs to be almost totally dependent on the import of sugar and other sweet products from foreign countries while Cambodia has enough natural resources to produce those products.

Realizing that Cambodia has strong potential in growing sugar cane to be processed as white sugar, together with the strong commitment of Cambodia toward the development of private sector through promoting this kind of investment, 8 companies proposed the investment on planting sugar cane and building sugar factories. The Royal Government of Cambodia has warmly welcome this initiative by allowing those companies to receive, in principles, the investment on growing sugar cane and building sugar factories under the scheme of economic land concession, in which there are 2 companies located in Koh Kong province and 3 companies located in Utdor Meanhey province, 1 company located in Kratie province and 2 companies located in Kampong Speu province with the total economic land concession of 66,000 hectars. At the same time, the Sugar Industry Company Limited is to invest on the economic land concession of 9, 700 hectars in Sre Ambel district of Koh Kong province, and according to the report by December 2009, the Company has claimed the land for about 5, 288 hectars, which is above the plan of 2, 488 hectars, and with the plantation of 2, 910 hectars, equal to 103 % of the implementation plan. As for the Koh Kong Plantation Company Limited, it has to invest on the economic land concession of 9, 400 hectars in Botum Sakor district of Koh Kong province, and according to the report by December 2009, the Company has claimed the land for about 4, 621 hectars, which is above the plan of 1, 506 hectars, and with the plantation of 4, 421 hectars, equal to 140% of the implementation plan. At the same time, both companies have cooperated to build the sugar factory on the land of 60 hectars in this area with the ability to absorb the fresh sugar of about 6, 000 tons per day and ability to produce 600 tons of sugar per day. However, the company can only produce the fresh sugar to support the factory of only 2, 000 tons per day due to the shortage of labor forces. In fact, during the growing and harvesting season, starting from January to April 2010, both companies need 5, 000 to 6, 000 contracted workers for daily operation, in which the companies have only 4, 000 workers. Each worker will receive about 10,000 Riel to 20,000 Riel per day. Also, these companies do need employees, skilled workers and contracted workers of 350 people to work in the factories and their salary will range from USD 80 to 120 USD. This statistic shows that the companies will contribute to solving employment opportunities and income generation for the people, which is responding to the objective of poverty reduction through expanding additional jobs. When our people have enough income for their living we can reduce the migration of the people from this area to the cities or other urban areas.

Along with the white sugar factory, which is to be inaugurated now, we will also receive a number of sugar factories in Utdor Meanchey province, which is planned to be completed by 2011, with the ability to absorb the fresh sugar cane of about 7, 000 tones to 11, 000 tons per day, and ability to produce sugar from 700 tons to 1,100 tons per day. The sugar factories in Katie province, which will be completed in 2013, can absorb the fresh sugar cane of 5, 000 tons per day and is able to produce 500 tons per day. Therefore, based on the above projects, Cambodia can produce 7, 2000 tons of sugar in 2010 and could be increased to 156, 000 tones to 204, 000 tons in 2011, and in the year 2013 we will be able to produce white sugar from 216, 000 tones to 264, 000 tones. The quantity of these products can make Cambodia able to fully supply the local demand and is also able to export more.

In this regard, the establishment of this sugar factory will make the farmers, who plant sugar cane, have new markets; and this factory will respond to the local sugar demand by substituting the import. This clearly shows the attention made by the Royal Government by not just only setting out the national development strategy and fully promoting the local resource potential to receive economic efficiency, but also expanding and strengthening the Cambodian competitive productivity and capacity in the context of globalization to ensure sustainable economic growth.

In fact, this factory would be the largest sugar factory in Cambodia for meeting domestic demand and exports, which will increase the domestic production of import substitution goods and increase market competitiveness.

Beside those direct benefits as mentioned above, this sugar factory will create abundant opportunities for the entire socio-economy in Cambodia. Our people could directly earn their income from this factory through wholesaling or retailing sugar at provinces, cities, urban and rural areas, providing transportation services, repairing and maintenance services, establishing handicraft or other supporting industries, encouraging farmers to plant sugarcane to supply to this factory. The other significant benefit that Cambodia gains from this factory which is a long-term development strategy include knowledge, skills and technology transfer to the country for the development of the agro- industry and those industries that support agriculture sector. Evidently, in its Capacity Building Program, this factory has sent 52 of its staffs to attend technical training overseas. This program will increase the flow of knowledge and skills to Cambodian people, which is the strong foundation for industrial development in Cambodia.

The inauguration of such large scale factory is another proof among other achievements that the Royal Government of Cambodia has achieved during the Fourth Legislature of the National Assembly. It reflects the righteousness and successes of the government in implementing the Rectangular Strategy-Phase II as adopted in this mandate.

I also would like to take this opportunity to advice relevant Ministries, local authorities, the company and people living in this area to continue to pay high attention with great accountability, contribute to the project development and progress, and ensure the sustainable operation of this factory as follow:

1st : Relevant Ministries, institutions, especially the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training must cooperate, coordinate and disseminate information to all people about the labor needs of the company to reduce the unemployment of people.

2nd: Relevant Ministries and competence authorities, especially the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy must strongly cooperate with the company by having a clear monitoring program and consistently control the program to ensure that the production and outputs are in compliance with the industrial standard.

At the same time, the Ministry of Environment must take a lead in controlling the industrial waste and cooperate with the company in implementing the principle of Clean Technology to reduce waste and other negative impacts to the environment and people, as well as creating a good environment to build trust from new investors.

3rd: All levels of local authority must cooperate with the company to ensure good security, and order in the area.

4th: The company must try its utmost to ensure that its products complies with the technical standard, strengthening and upgrading capacity to promote the image of Cambodian products and resolve all challenges relating to the market competition. Moreover, the company must respect the Labor law, Environmental Law and other existing regulations. The company must adhere to the principle of environmental and social responsibility by cooperating with the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Environment in enforcing the Law on Factory and Handicraft Management, Environment Protection Law, for the welfare, safety, and try to avoid any negative impacts on social environment, that may cause from the operations of this sugar factory. Additionally, the company must continue to expand its production as agreed in the contract, by ensuring reasonable competitive market price for agro-products, providing sugar cane seeds, tools, planting techniques, soil laboratory to improve soil quality for local farmers and other areas that have potential for sugar cane plantation, which the company can rely upon for supplying for this factory.

At the same time, the company must help develop this area and take care of the welfare of its employees and their families, by building houses, health centers, Buddhist Temples, schools, water ponds, wells and other infrastructures as the foundation for facilitating the working and living condition of its employees and their families to raise their living standard and to develop this area.

5th: Other enterprises, handicrafts, industries and all people must show stronger support for local products to motivate entrepreneurs and producers to produce more products for the socio-economy of Cambodia. When we do that, we will have a mechanism of mutual support, create the equilibrium of demand and supply, promote national competitiveness of Cambodia which is the key factor for accelerating economic growth and national development.

6th: People living in this area and other nearby areas, must stop hunting wildlife and encroaching forest. You should turn to sugarcane plantation, find job in this sugar farm factory to raise your living standard, to avoid danger jobs, preserve the forest and wildlife to attract more tourists to visit this area.

In this spirit, I firmly hope that all relevant ministries, local authorities, company and all people will continue to carry out their duties with high accountability.

Last but not least, I wish the company success and fast progress in its production, distribution, and sales with strong support from customers nationally and internationally.

Finally, with the inauguration of this “Sugarcane Factory” in Koh Kong province, May I wish Your Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests, Compatriots the Four Gems of Buddhist Blessings.

Address at the Opening of the 6th Asia Economic Forum

Keynote Address at the Opening of the 6th Asia Economic Forum on “Maximizing Asia’s Strategic Roles in the World: Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Prospects”

Phnom Penh, January 20th, 2010

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Today it is my pleasure and privilege to be here once again to join the 6th Asia Economic Forum on Maximizing Asia’s Strategic Roles in the World: Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Prospects, jointly hosted by the University of Cambodia and the International Foundation for Arts and Culture of Tokyo.

First of all, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen government officials, economists, and speakers attending this important event. This forum is indeed a great opportunity for all of us to exchange dialogue and experiences on regional economy, finance and development while the global economic crisis is hampering Asia’s growth, financial soundness and trade. In addition to the pursuit of key solutions to deal with the crisis, this forum will also try to explore options to promote growth and political stability as well as targeted responses to deal with climate change, human development, and development gap. Succeeding in the pursuit does not only mean less impact from the crisis, but also quicker development for the region.

Although the present sign of global economic recovery is hardly visible, we strongly believe the East Asia will recover more quickly than other regions through domestic demand stimulation and export promotion. Adding to the lesson learned from the crisis, ASEAN can now deepen its integration process, especially in the fields of finance, trade, investment as well as cross-border transport, agriculture and tourism.

In this spirit, I totally support the prospect of integrating ASEAN and the linkage of physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, air and sea within Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar and the whole ASEAN will bring about enormous benefits to member countries, through the promotion of intra-trade, investment and tourism as well as narrowing of development gap amongst the members. Along with this, to maximize gain from the vast economic potential in the region, ASEAN must also focus on soft infrastructure, especially trade facilitation, customs procedures simplification and automation, investment and SMEs promotion and strengthening economic integration. Success in these tasks will allow us to minimize cost of production and promote domestic consumption which in return will boost the region’s competitiveness.

The effect of the global financial and economic crisis will extend amid some reports of recovery in 2010. In this sense, I think Asia’s increasing strategic role in the world must be fulfilled. Under this circumstance, Asia must grab the opportunity and uproot the region’s common challenges. The strengthening of Asia’s role must start with the reassessment of the crisis’s impact on economy and politics, social well-being, environment and other areas in Asia.

In this context, I believe the strengthening of ASEAN’s internal integration will be an urgent priority since all the member countries are key to political stability and socio-economic development that can influence the whole Asia. In this sense, the formation of the ASEAN Community by 2015 which includes ASEAN’s security - politics community, economic community and socio-cultural community must start with the ASEAN Constitution, the key catalyst for accelerating, deepening and harmonizing ASEAN integration.

Along with the achievements made so far and the vision to be achieved by ASEAN and the whole Asia, I have noticed that we have a number of works in front of us which require our joint efforts to continue strengthening the strategic roles of ASEAN for the future of Asia. Those works are as follows:

1. Promoting the maintenance of political stability, security, harmonization and regional peace

I would like to note that ASEAN has played a significant role for regional cooperation, security and politics, starting from the signing of the ASEAN charter. This issue has been supported by the United States recently through the participation of the US in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), which reflect the US’s commitment to maintain security and peace in the region.

Through many forums, which have been initiated by the ASEAN such as ASEAN+1 with other dialogue partners, ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum have played crucial roles in maintaining peace, political stability and security in the region.

In fact, the strategic role of ASEAN for this issue is truly essential. This role is the profession of ASEAN and Asia. Without peace, political stability and social order, there will be no development even the life of ASEAN and Asia could not be sustained. In this regard, the ASEAN member states must try to maintain political stability, internal security and good relations with each other. The achievements of these works will help to reduce the impact of the global economic and financial crisis in the region as well as strengthening the cooperation for socio-economic development.

Along with this, I believe that when we strengthen the principles of not interfering with internal affairs of the member states and when we demonstrate the ability of ASEAN in facilitating and solving the security and political issues, related to the bilateral relation of its member states, we will achieve the future of ASEAN with full fledge integration in ASEAN and the whole Asia because the leading role of ASEAN is the significant energy of Asia. Of course, by then we all will share a common faith from the glorious future of Asia due to the fast moving economic growth and the size of population, which is a big market. Moreover, the core role of ASEAN for the future of Asia is to continue implementing the strategy against terrorism, transnational crimes, pirates, fighting against nuclear weapon and all kinds of disastrous war.

2. Promoting the progress of Asia’s economy and trade

In order to promote this strategy, ASEAN should try to quickly reduce the impact of the global economic and financial downturn through boosting investment, increasing export of agricultural products and promoting cooperation in the financial sector, according to the spirit of multilateral Chiang Mai Initiatives, increasing the reserved budget, such as the reservation of USD 120 billion for accelerating the development of ASEAN economy. Furthermore, ASEAN should try to continue to make sure that the Free Trade Area between ASEAN-China, ASEAN-India, ASEAN-Japan and ASEAN-Korea are to promote trade between the ASEAN and dialogue partners. Along with this, ASEAN must make sure the DOHA ROUND resumes the negotiation process in order to enable the developing countries to develop according to their strategic goals. For this issue, ASEAN must also focus on the enhancement of roles of the private sector to be the engine of growth.

3. Accelerating the development of the East Asian Community

This strategic role is the bridge in developing an East Asian Community, which is the building of interest for the whole Asian people. In overall, ASEAN must try to push for the building of East Asian Community through ASEAN regional integration and East Asia Integration. The building of both communities should be done at the same time. The East Asian Community should be started by not delaying until the completion of building the three communities of ASEAN by 2015. On the other hand, the initiative to create another community, which is the establishment of Asia-Pacific Community, is not necessary as ASEAN has already had a lot of mechanisms. Through this, we should strengthen existing mechanisms rather than creating new ones with late implementation.

4. Preventing climate change

Climate change is still a threat for us all. We all have been aware about the close relationship between climate change and natural disaster. Through this, we must be brave to put out sharp measures to cope with this challenge. In this sense, ASEAN must be more responsible in promoting the implementation of the existing mechanisms in order to effectively and timely deal with the climate change. Strategically, ASEAN must raise its own profile to combat climate change in order to ensure happiness, particularly the lives of Asians.

5. Ensuring food security

As the world population is increasing, food security becomes a long-term and chronic issue which all countries must cope with urgently. The hike in food prices had casted adverse effect on poverty and made poor people vulnerable to food shortages and malnutrition. Food security remains a major concern for the whole Asia because most of the countries are still developing countries. Indeed, this also brings up new opportunity for those countries in our region that have great potential in the agriculture sector.

At the same time, we are fully aware that the future economic growth in Asia will escalate more demand for energy as well. Therefore, in response to the increase in demand for energy, we inevitably have to utilize bio-fuel which will play an alternative role in our development. However, through the recent increase in food prices and various impacts on our people, we noticed that bio-fuel development will not be beneficial because land use for food cultivation should not be utilized for bio-fuel crops. This requires us to reconsider the balance between growing food and bio-fuel crops. Therefore, ASEAN must play the role in ensuring enough food that is sanitary for the health of our people. In parallel, ASEAN must pay attention to cultivate agricultural food crops to secure food security as well as reduce the risk from overusing chemical fertilizer.

6. Disaster management

ASEAN must play a very potential strategic role in confronting natural disaster through the establishment of mechanism to manage and prepare for disasters such flood, drought, volcano eruption, typhoon and earthquake. Of course, some disasters are of huge magnitude that a country cannot cope with alone. In this sense, we must closely cooperate to strengthen our preparedness and build the capacity of each country to overcome these disasters. Information sharing such as through the early warning system and joint exercise should be extended to cover all countries in Asia.

7. Preventing communicable diseases

Strengthening the strategic role of ASEAN in protecting and preventing all kinds of communicable diseases in this millennium is vital in ensuring the wellbeing and future of Asian people. This is the common role of the world in which cooperation between countries in region to promote researches to produce medicines and vaccines for preventing any disease are the type of task to be jointly accelerated.

8. Promoting young leadership education for the future

Undoubtedly, long-term sustainability and the future of Asia lies on the leadership of next generations, especially those young leaders in Asian countries. In this sense, Asian must take a very crucial role in building successors through strengthening and expanding education and training programs and providing encouragement for wider participation of youth.

9. Promoting the prestige of ASEAN on the international stage

Another strategy that ASEAN must adopt is to raise its prestige on international stage. This task can be achieved by maintaining firm regional internal solidarity of ASEAN, ensuring and strengthening peace, political stability, security and social order.

Once again, on behalf of the Cambodian government, I would like to warmly welcome the presence of Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen who contribute both time and experience at the 6th Asia Economic Forum, 2010 which being held in the Kingdom of Cambodia at the moment. I hope that the results of this forum will provide important knowledge for the promotion of peace, political stability and social order as well as economic development in the region and the world.

I would like to wish Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen attending this forum with the four gems of Buddhist blessing; Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.

May I now announce the opening of the 6th Asia Economic Forum, 2010.

Keynote Address at The Inauguration Ceremony of the New Navy Headquarter Building and other Achievements

Phnom Penh, January 18, 2010

Your Venerable Samdech Preah Somethea Tephadei Head of Monks and Monks,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Commander, Lieutenant Commanders, Naval Officers and Sailors of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished National and International Guests, Teachers, Students and all Compatriots,

Today it is my privilege and great pleasure to be here with Samdech Preah Somethea Tephadei, Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Lok Oknha, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests as well as the Naval Officers of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) to inaugurate the New Headquarter Building of the Royal Navy and other achievements. This event allows me to meet face to face with the members of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, especially the naval officers and sailors as well as all compatriots to address some basic needs on time. These basic needs always exist. However, given our limited capacity, we need to address them step by step.

Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), I would like to thank all the donors who have contributed their personal wealth to realize all the achievements we see in this event. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the commander, lieutenant commanders, officers and sailors of the Royal Navy for their tireless effort and collaboration to make these achievements possible.

The new headquarter building and other achievements indeed stem from the Royal Government’s effort and determination and donors’ support by sticking to Culture of Sharing in order to develop a strong Royal Navy and modernize national defense sector. These achievements will be a concrete foundation for naval operations, capacity enhancement and overall development. In this sense, the commander, lieutenant commanders, officers and sailors of the Royal Navy must do your utmost to maintain these achievements to serve their own unit and strengthen national defense. I believe the RCAF, in particular, the Royal Navy, will remain committed to strengthening its institutional capacity and operations in the mission to protect national independence, sovereignty, peace, and development.

According to the report raised by H.E. Admiral Tea Vinh, the Royal Navy was established in 1983 on a very narrow foundation with only single fleet. Later on, with support from friend countries, the Royal Navy has transformed itself into a main component of the RCAF with ability to protect water border and adequate weapons and personnel to protect water – air border and islands of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Along with this, the Royal Navy always keeps its force sharpened by actively participating in regional fleets to prepare itself for global cooperation.

In fact, the continual progress of the Cambodian naval forces stemmed from willingness of the great solidarity of the Cambodian National Solidarity and Salvage Front by standing on the spirit of 7 January 1979, which has deeply rooted in the conscience of every Cambodian soldiers and people in overthrowing and preventing the return of the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime. Through this historical fact, we consider 7 January as the day of beginning all kinds of achievements for the people and Cambodian society including the lives, freedom, tradition, religious belief, democracy and development in all sectors as witnessed today. As a result, during the 30 years after the collapse of the Pol Pot genocidal regime, we have accomplished considerable achievements such as restoration and rebuilding of physical infrastructures, which are the necessary foundation to support the progress and development of the Cambodian socio-economic development. In fact, what we all have seen here today are the most recent achievements that we have made, such as the building of navy headquarter, meeting hall, patrolling navy post for Prek Tatene, offices, warehouses and infrastructures in the headquarter as a whole, which will add to the daily need of the commander, lieutenant commanders, naval officers and sailors of our navy.

Along with that, Cambodia has received a great deal of interest from the progress of the navy such as they have significantly contributed to maintaining security, safety in their own geographical location and other nearby areas, as well as cooperating to crack down various crimes such as deforestation, illegal fishing, and the prevention of cross border crimes. Moreover, our naval forces have always effectively cooperated to assist the people in time of facing disasters such as flood, storms/typhoons, submerge of the boats and ships and the air crash. So far, our naval forces have always overcome to deal with all sorts of obstacles with conscience to love the nation and struggling spirit in order to protect the territorial integrity. These activities have contributed to the building of full peace with great achievements, which are of high interest for the whole nation. In this aspect, it is seen that our naval forces have played a solid and core role in building and developing the country and assisting the people in time of disaster.

These achievements and activities are the tremendous gratitude of our navy in the obligation to protect territorial integrity, to maintain security and peace, to sustain development and enhancement of the honor for our nation of magnificent Angkor. In this regard, the Royal Government has further paid attention to the ex-soldiers by creating the various policies, which are the sustainable social safety net aiming to ensure the living standard of the people and to pave the favorable condition for them to live as a civilian with harmonization with families and communities. Those works include the professional training, solving the living of the demobilized and retired soldiers, disability soldiers, handicapped soldiers and the sacrificed families through allocating the social concession lands, which are to provide the opportunity to armed forces and families to have plots of land for building houses for other businesses and farming, agricultural cultivation to support the families as well as to contribute to increase the national productivity in order to ensure a stable living.

On behalf of the Royal Government and on my own behalf, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and thank to all commanders and forces as well as the naval commander, lieutenant commanders and naval forces of the RCAF and the disabled fighters, who have sacrificed tremendously with greatest gratitude for the cause of the nation.

Along with what the naval forces have achieved and the efforts made by the Royal Government in preparing the social safety net, the Royal Government has always been adhered to the principles of strengthening peace, stability and public order for a more sustainable society. In this connection, the Royal Government has been implementing the reform programs, which have been considered as a death and life issues for Cambodia as well as having strengthened and built the capacity of the RCAF in order to make sure that their obligation is more effective as professional forces with full ability to participate in various missions. The objective of implementing this reform program is to equip the RCAF with skills and ability to continue active cooperation with the international community in order to prevent and protect every act of local and international terrorism and sabotage, to be committed to implementing necessary measures to increase efficiency in preventing and suppressing all kinds of crimes such as trafficking of drugs, women and children, abduction and kidnapping, armed robberies, sexual harassment and violation and other illegal acts, causing fear and instability to the society. Standing on this foundation, the Royal Government always keeps strict and thorough implementation of all reform programs laid out extensively and intensively including vigorously and accurately documenting the numbers of soldiers, raising capacity and solidarity aiming at strengthening quality to ensure loyalty to nation, respect of the constitution, discipline and moral authority as well as professional ethics in order to fulfill duty of protecting integrity of land, water and air, to ensure national security, to protect independence, sovereignty, to keep public order and to preserve all national achievement under all circumstances.

In overall, the Royal Government is steadfastly committed to providing all kinds of support to develop and modernize Cambodian national defense to be fully competent and accommodated to development and evolution of world and national situation in order to enable our armed forces to carry out role and fulfill duty efficiently and effectively. In this sense, the Royal Government of Cambodia will support and encourage RCAF to make effort to conduct research and training, to promote knowledge of military and other related skilled such as information technology in order to bolster and expand international cooperation in the global and regional framework.

At the same time, the Royal Government takes stance to strengthen and expand cooperation between each military unit and civil institutions with the objective to raise capacity of Cambodian military. Taking this opportunity, I would like to compliment H.E Dr. Bun Rany and Madams of other Royal Government members as well as commander, lieutenant commander of RCAF for frequent visiting and learning real needs our armed force of all kinds of the RCAF, especially visiting military unit who stations at areas and islands that are remote from citizen communities. This courageous care-taking attitude does make significant contribution to dealing with hardship of armed forces, particularly to promote will and spirit of our armed force to fulfill mission to preserve and protect land and water integrity, air border, island-promontory of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia. In this spirit, on behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to promote and encourage participation of Your Excellencies, Lok Oknha, Ladies and Gentlemen, the kind-hearted, all development partners and national and international organizations to join hand to overcome hardship and shortage faced by our armed forces with the objective to ensure welfare, stamina, clear mind and power in order to effectively ensure peace, safety and development of all areas in Cambodia. Along with this, I would like to request to commander, lieutenant commanders, naval commander and lieutenant commanders, and all naval officers to continue good cooperation with local authorities of all levels, relevant institutions, agencies and people of each localities with objective to strengthen national solidarity, to prevent any attempt to trigger ethnic and religious enmity, to timely prevent any attempt to create extremist idea and force which is capable of causing social chaos and instability.

Once again, I would like to highly value efforts and courageous sacrifice in fulfilling duty, made by commander, lieutenant commanders, naval commander and lieutenant commanders, and all naval officers of the RCAF to protect land and water integrity, air space, to maintain peace, safety and good order for our people and society since the past, and would like to thank Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Contributors for joining hand to support construction of this beautiful building of New Navy Headquarter and other Achievements from beginning to completion.

At the end, along with official inauguration of this New Navy Headquarter and other Achievements, I would like to wish Samdech, Venerable Monks, Excellencies, Lok Oknha, Commander, Vice Commander, Naval Commander and Lieutenant Commanders, and all Naval Officers and Sailors, Ladies and Gentlemen, National and International Guests, Teachers, Students and Compatriots 4 gems of Buddhist blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.