Monday, February 28, 2011

Selected Comments at the Inauguration of the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge at Preak Tamak

24 January 2011

Thank China for Immense Achievements
I am so joyful to be here participating with all of our people in the inauguration ceremony of the Prek Tamak Bridge that is built with the Chinese assistance. The achievement of this magnitude is considered immense for our people and country. I would like to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thank for the good words of HE Pan Guangxue, Ambassador of China, about cooperation that we have so far and more to be done in the future.

I would depend on HE Pan Guangxue to relay my sincere thank and appreciation to the people and government (of the People’s Republic of China) for assistances they have provided so far and will be providing in the future for the Kingdom of Cambodia’s development. I also express my appreciation for efforts made by the Ministry of Public Works and Transports as well as related institutions – Ministries of Economy and Finance, local authorities and people living along the project sites of Preak Tamak Bridge as well as the national road 8, in making these projects a great success.

I also thank and appreciate the Shanghai Construction Company and the consultant company Guangzhou Wanana for the efforts they have put into this construction. It was also a good gesture and understanding of allowing our people to use the bridge for a short period of time in July 2010 when our people celebrated annual offering day for their ancestors. After the construction completes, our people have been allowed to use the bridge and today we are here just to make the inauguration official. On this joyous occasion and that the Chinese New Year is approaching, I would like to wish all of you Chinese experts, engineers and workers good health and longevity, while making further contributions in Cambodia.

Three Bridges Ready, Three More to Come
I am so happy today as this is already the third Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge that is being put into official use, after the first 1057 meter Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge at Sekong River (in Stoeng Treng province) that links the national road 7, which China also helped build from Kratie to Stoeng Treng on one end of the bridge and from the other end of the bridge to the border with Laos, that was inaugurated a few years back and the second Cambodian-Chinese Friendship bridge at Prek Kadam that was put into official use last year.

I also would like to take this opportune moment to inform our people that there will certainly be two more Cambodian-Chinese Friendship bridges – the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge at Jroi Jangva (adjacent to the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge) in Phnom Penh and the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge at Ta Khmao (of Kandal province). As we are working out a new project to build a road linking Preah Vihear province and Stoeng Treng province, we would go for a third new bridge in line across the upper part of the Mekong River too.

Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation Partnership
I am so content that this has been one of so many achievements that are the fruits of cooperation between Cambodian and China. Our foreign policy to build up relations with the People’s Republic of China has now entered a stage of comprehensive partnership for strategic cooperation. This has provided Cambodia with opportunity to cope up with needs for development, in which infrastructural one, that China has been providing credit, is our priority.

The Cambodian-Chinese cooperation has proven to be of importance for Cambodia. It should be noted that economic development in China has not been for the sake of Chinese growth and prosperity alone. China has pursued a foreign policy that is providing help for other developing countries, not only in Asia but also in Africa and Latin America, too. Particularly for ASEAN, I could recall that HE Wen Jiabao, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, has been increasing Chinese commitment to provide assistance in related ASEAN + China summits. The amount of commitment has reached some seven billion USD, and Cambodia has achieved a fairly big part of this committed amount for its development projects.

As I mentioned once the amount of committed fund that Cambodia has secured for development projects so far has been provided in two forms. One form of provision of funding is provided from the Chinese Government to the Royal Government of Cambodia and another form of funding is by funding the Chinese private sector to carry out investment projects in Cambodia. As for the latter form, HE Pan Guanghue and I have presided over the river closure ceremonies to built two hydroelectric plants that provide some 600 MW of electricity at a total cost of over one billion USD.

Six Hydroelectric Plants
In all there have been six Chinese companies working on hydroelectric projects in Cambodia. There have been six construction sites, one of which has now provided electricity already. The credit for all six projects cost up to between 1.6 and 1.7 billion USD. As of this year, Cambodia will have over 200 MW of electricity more, in which 193 MW will come from the Komjai hydroelectric plant and 18 MW will come from Kirirom III. We are busy wiring them out through Takeo province and on to Phnom Penh.

Here at Prek Tamak (a commune of Khsaj Kandal district lof Kandal province that bordering on the western bank of the Mekong River with Punnhea Loe district of Kandal province) we also need electricity for the bridge as well as household and production consumptions. We must make further effort to provide electricity to the bridge as we already have a beautiful bridge in use now. We could not afford to let it be damaged from driving in the dark at all.

So Nguon Transports Warned
Talking about careless driving let me warn the So Nguon’s transport company about their state of operation. In fact (Oknha) So Nguon is chairman of the private sector’s transportation service However it has been so frequent that his transport means cause accidents. His company truck had just broken the rail of the Monivong Bridge. I must say it out loud and in open. It has been said that the company’s means of transport have not been properly maintained and their drivers have been considered careless too. I think I have said about this twice already.

This is just my advice. If this is going on to be the case, no heed will be paid to advice and traffic accidents of that sort will keep happening, there is no other way to make thing better but to close the company down. I doubt what sort of Government partner this company could be. In absence of electricity to light up the Prek Tamak Bridge at night, I warn of careless driving and improperly maintained vehicles to cause such damages.

Infrastructures – Prime for Economic Development
I subscribe to a theory that in order to achieve economic development, efforts must be made to have infrastructure in place. This has not been well approved by many except only in about a year ago. With without their recognition and/or approval, Cambodia has made its choice. What we have achieved because of courageous policy, in the name of the Cambodian People’s Party as well as the Royal Government of Cambodia, under my leadership is a pride.

Efforts have been made from stage to stage and in stringent financial condition to have bridges built. We now have the Japanese built Kizuna Bridge at Tonle Bet of Kampong Cham province, the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship of Sekong, the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship at Prek Kadam, the Cambodian-Chinese Friendship at Prek Tamak, the new Monivong Bridge in Phnom Penh, and we are going to build two more bridges at Jroi Jangva and Takhmao both with the Chinese assistance. On February 12, 2011, we will solemnize the construction of the Neak Loeung Bridge that is two kilometers long.

Started from wooden bridge, we then came to Bailey bridges that we also purchased them from China. We have now reached the time when we have them replaced with concrete bridge. Beiley bridges have been relocated to formerly inaccessible areas. In tough financial situation, in order to connect the whole country together, the Royal Government allowed private sector to buy the Beiley Bridge and built them first and the government would repay them later in stages.

Economic and Social Benefits from Being Connected
As the country fully achieved peace, infrastructures were still a major problem as they still leave the whole country in disconnection. People travelling to and from rural areas to cities and other centers, for business and/or for holidays and visits, have been vastly improved indicating three major changes in people’s economic and social conditions, thus far assuring benefits our people get from infrastructural development projects.

In the last few years, it has been noticed that cities and centers have been left quiet as people travelled far and back to their home villages for example. This can be a good example of how infrastructural development benefits our people. Firstly, thanks to peace and security that is spreading throughout the country, our people can travel wherever they wish to. Secondly, travelling is possible because the country has been well connected by roads and bridges, and thirdly, our people must have a better living conditions or made a fairly amount of money in order to travel.

It has been my philosophy and it will be in the future that investment must continue to be made in infrastructures – such as roads, bridges, water canals, electricity and human resource development. I have said and repeated that we must continue investment in four prioritized areas: water, road, electricity and human resources development. If we are not connected internally how do we go about preaching of regional integration?

Local Unsophisticated Ferry – A Memory
Take this area for instance. Not to mention of Prek Tamak Bridge that connects one side of the Mekong River to another, at Preah Kunlong waterway of Khsaj Kandal, if you care to look at the footage of TVK, I crossed it with the most unsophisticated ferry in the world. There were two boats tied alongside each other topped with floor piece that slices of wood nailed together. The ferry of this sort was powered by human pulling a cable that is tied to each side of the waterpass.

In 1989, it was within the rainy season as our people celebrating traditional Buddhist offerings to their ancestors, with a group of officials, I came to Prek Tamak by boat. As we arrived, there was a heavy rain. The locals told us we’d better leave in the rain for wherever we wanted to go or after the rain stopped travelling would be impossible for slippery condition and/or motorbikes’ tires would be immovable by mud. We did. We reached to Sanlong commune and stayed there overnight.

A Promise Kept from 2003
It was in that state of road and ferry that we pooled out resources and built a bridge at Preah Kunlong that was inaugurated in April 1990. It was a small bridge. However, it was our great pride and joy. I remember that in 2003, at the Prek Bang pagoda of Khsaj Kandal district, I have affirmed that if I were to be in power, I would try my best to build the national road 8. It was then designed to be a road of seven meters in width. However, now we have a bitumen road of eleven meters in width instead stretches from Prek Tamak to the b order with Vietnam and on to the district of Punnhea Krek of Kompong Cham province.

In addition to the road that I promised, now we have also a bridge of 1,066 meters in length and 13,5 meters in width at the cost of 43 million USD, in which 2,178,180.95 USD is the counterpart fund provided by the Royal Government of Cambodia. As is written on banner here, or generally said in China and Cambodia, where there is a way there will be hope. It is in this line that we have saved every cent to invest forcefully in infrastructural development.

Infrastructural Development – People’s Benefits
As we achieve peace and in order to preserve peace as well as to integrate our people from former Democratic Kampuchea, through the win-win policy that I put out in 1996 and implemented through to 1998, recommendation has been focused on urgent infrastructural development. I have said that political and administrative integration was only one part of the whole process, whereas to integrate them by infrastructural means would be another important part.

In some countries efforts have been made only for urban infrastructural development while less has been done for people in rural areas. That has led to judgment by local rural people that they have been neglected and also their production in that instance would be locked up in their areas as access to market would be impossible. Discontent among them would rise and there would also be negative impact on pricing of products and goods in urban markets as well.

Take for example, Snuol district of Kratie province, people produced various kinds of crop but could not get them out to markets anywhere because of absence of road links. As we have the national road 7 in place our people really benefit from the development of infrastructure in many terms.

According to the report by HE Tram Iv Toek, Minister for Transport and Public Works, the cost of crossing the Mekong River at this point, Prek Tamak, by ferry to-and-from was ranging from 24,200 Riel for empty or small vehicle, 82,000 Riel for large truck ... However, after the bridge has been allowed for use last July, travelers by all transport means no longer pay that sum of money anymore. They can cross the river as many times as they may need to while the Royal Government has paid for their trips.

Some people have said about us that we did not do anything for the country. I would rebuke to their remarks that “yes, we did not do ‘things’ but we build roads, bridges, irrigation canals, etc. What a useless thing to do to play flute for cow’s ears.

Infrastructural Development Projects with Chinese Assistance
I just want HE Pan Guangxie to note that he is going to be the busiest compared to former Ambassadors of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia. Let me line out that so far there is 1,500 km of roads and bridges that have been built and put into use with the grant and credits from the People’s Republic of China. Maybe I should list them here.




National Road 7 segment

from Kratie province to the border with Laos at Stoeng Treng province

196.8 km

Sekong River Bridge

at Steong Treng Province

10,57 m

Prek Kadam Bridge

at Kandal province

775 m

Prek Tamak Bridge

at Kandal province

1,066 m


3,098 m of bridge

196.8 km of road

Projects that are underway are:




National Road 8

Prek Tamak Bridge to Komjai Mie of Prey Veng


National Road 76

Snuol district of Kratie to Sen Monorom of Mundulkiri


National Road 61

Prek Kadam Bridge to NR 6A Juncture


National Road 57

Battambang province to Pailin


National Rod 62

Tbeng Meanjei of Preah Vihear province to road 210


National Road 62

Kompong Thom province to Preah Vihear province’s Tbeng Meanjei


New Road

Anlong Jrei of Krek district to Moen Jei of Krabao district of Kompong Cham


National Road 3762

Sen Monorom to Dakdam of Mondulkiri province


National Road 78

O Pong Moan of Stoeng Treng province to Banlung of Ratanakiri’s province


National Road 59

Pailin, Komrieng, Phnom Proek, Sampeo Loun, Mealai in Pailin and Battambang provinces


National Road 57B

Thmor Kol, Sampeo Loun, Village 30, Phnom Preok, Kamrieng, Oda of Battambang province




About 70% of the projects have been achieved so far. These roads have been used by our people already.
We also have new projects that that have been agreed upon in general and those that are requesting assistance from China for 2012, 2013 and 2014 as followed:




Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge

at Phnom Penh’s Jroi Jangva

719 km

National Road 41

Thnol Totoeng to Jum Kiri

95 km

Cambodian-Chinese Friendship Bridge

at Kandal province’s Takhmao

795 m

Access Road to the Takhmao Bridge

at Kandal province’s Takhmao

11 km

National Road 6A Enlargement

from Phnom Penh to Thnol Keng (Juncture)

40 km

National Road 5 Enlargement

from Phnom Penh to Prek Kadam

30 km

National Road 214

from Tbeng Meanjei of Preah Vihear province to Thala Borivat of Stoeng Treng province

132 km

New Road

from Sen Monorom’s Koh Nhek of Mondulkiri to Lumphat of Ratanakiri province

171 km

Irrigation System

Tonle Vaiko of Svai Rieng province


National Road 6 Enlargement (2012)

Road juncture at Skun of Kampong Cham’s province to Kampong Thom and Siemreap province

270 km

National Road 44 (2012)

from Jbar Mon district to Oral, Amlang and Udong districts of Kampong Speu province

116 km

National Road 58 (2013)

Banteay Manjei province that runs through Banteay Mean Rith and Thmor Daun

132 km

National Road 55 (2014)

from Pursath city to Phnom Kravanh and Oda

179 km

Neighborly Partnership Foreign Policy
In general, request of this sort will be supported by China because it will increase Cambodia’s economic efficiency. As is stated in HE Pan Gunagxie’s speech, China supports one’s own independent effort for development. This has clearly affirmed that the government of China pursues a policy of good neighborliness and values neighboring partnership as its foreign policy that fully supports the Royal Government’s of Cambodia’s efforts for poverty alleviation and economic development.

These will help Cambodia improve its status for integration of Cambodia into the region and international community. (It has been a promising statement that) China wishes to see Cambodia maintain its own independent effort for national development and assures its approval within its own rights and ability to assist Cambodia.

Having said so, China has seen Cambodia’s own efforts in implementing these projects of development and this has clearly come out through its noninterference into Cambodian decision in its development plan. There has never been no condition attached to every assistance China provides to Cambodia. I am sure that Cambodia will benefit from this relation and we will work out further progress in negotiating new projects. As you can see that China has helped Cambodia a length of road that does not before exist in its history.

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