January 9, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed Cambodia’s commitment to actively ensuring world order, despite the tense global situation caused by geopolitical competition between the superpowers.
Addressing a large crowd at the 44th commemoration of January 7 Victory over Genocide Day on Koh Pich, Hun Sen said the complexity and tension posed by the rivalry is a threat global peace, stability, and prosperity.
“Cambodia remains committed to being active with the UN and the international community to protect a rule-based world order. The Kingdom will strengthen inclusive, transparent, just, and open multilateralism systems which will promote the quality of life of all the people across the globe,” he said.
Hun Sen reiterated that Cambodia adheres to the UN Charter and other international norms and is absolutely against the invasion of any sovereign state, or the use or threat of force.
He recalled that the Kingdom has experienced such circumstances in the past and has learned that only negotiations can end a war.
He stressed the need to protect peace to ensure development, and noted the rapid progress of the Kingdom following the success of his win-win policy which brought about comprehensive peace in 1998. He also thanked Cambodia’s international partners for making such development possible.
He said internal factors determined the victory over the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, although external forces played a part. In this regard, he said any independent national must be determined to protect its independence, freedom and peace if it is to achieve longevity.
He also called on all compatriots to join with him to “destroy extremists and traitors”.
Hun Sen said compatriots must root out the extremist policies initiated by a traitor and his group who are living abroad, in apparent reference to self-exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who faces a slew of charges in Cambodia including plotting against the government.
The premier said they cannot be allowed to cause social chaos as this could lead to national division and bring disaster to the nation.
“Any individual or party that serves the policies of the extremist and traitor must correct themselves immediately, or face legal action,” he added.
National Assembly president Heng Samrin also addressed the crowds, saying that Cambodia’s hard-won, comprehensive peace has enabled the country to actively contribute to peace building in the region and beyond.
“[We] do so through many international forums, via both the executive and legislative branches,” he added.
“Last year, as Cambodia held the rotating chair of ASEAN, the National Assembly also chaired the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly [AIPA]. We successfully led a series of summits, meetings and workshops,” he continued.
Kao Kim Hourn – Minister Delegate attached to the Prime Minister and the newly appointed ASEAN secretary-general – said that in order to contribute to regional security, cooperation in the defence sector is one of the secretariat’s priorities.
Kim Hourn made the remarks following a January 4 meeting with Minister of National Defence Tea Banh. He departed for Jakarta on January 6 to take up his new post – a key role that he will hold until 2027. He shared similar thoughts a day earlier while meeting with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), said although it is unlikely that peace will ever be achieved globally, it could be secured at a national or regional level.
“The world sees constant wars happening, because the superpowers have ambition to control the world. They keep producing and selling weapons, and that is why wars keep happening,” he told The Post.
Speaking at an RAC-hosted conference last month, Peou said the different superpowers maintain their ambitions through a variety of strategies, including the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, commonly known as the Quad, between Australia, India, Japan and the US; China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); and the AUKUS trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and US.
He noted that the Indo-Pacific region remains the scene of strategic competition, largely due to its importance in terms of navigation, trade, and potential military strategy.