Your Excellency, Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Thailand,
Your Excellencies, Dignitaries of the Royal Government of Thailand,
Your Excellencies, Members of Cambodian Senate, National Assembly and the Royal Government of Cambodia,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, it is my highest honor and deepest pleasure to join H.E. Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, the Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Thailand, in officiating at this joyful Launching Ceremony. Today, we launch the construction of four bridges with the total length of 1,560 meters and the upgrading with bitumen pavement of 152 kilometers of National Road 48, connecting National Road 4 at Camkar Luong (Veal Rinh) to Koh Kong Town. These important infrastructure projects shall be financed through a grant and concessional loan package provided by the Royal Government of Thailand.
On behalf of the people and Royal Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, I express our deep appreciation and gratitude to Your Excellency Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and to the people and Royal Government of the Kingdom of Thailand for your most valuable support for this project and many other development initiatives.
The construction and upgrading of National Road 48, especially the construction of the four bridges spanning the seashore sections along this national road testifies to the opening of a new and historical page of the development of the Koh Kong region in particular, and that of Cambodia and Thailand as well as the Greater Mekong Subregion in general.
Transport and travel from Koh Kong to Phnom Penh on National Road 48 has been very difficult and time-consuming. With the rehabilitation of this road under co-financing between the Royal Governments of Cambodia and Thailand, travel has become much easier. Moreover, when the second phase of the project that we launch today is completed, the current 7 – 8 hours of travel time between Koh Kong and Phnom Penh will be reduced to only 3 – 4 hours. At that time NR 48 will become the shortest route linking the Phnom Penh capital with Thailand.
I believe that Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen all agree with me that the rehabilitated NR48 will serve as a new catalyst for economic growth of the economies of both Cambodia and Thailand. The improvement of the physical links between our two nations will spur cross-border economic activity, trade, tourism and communication cross of the economy, trade, tourism and investments.
Indeed, our two countries and economies have many complementary comparative advantages that serve as the key fundamentals for long-term cooperation between our countries and people. Thus the linkage between our complementary economic potentials through this NR48 will be an important catalyst that will advance not only our respective economies, but also our two nations’ cooperation, mutual understanding and shared vision for overall progress, prosperity and peace.
Moreover, the improvement of this important transport link will not only facilitate trade, communication and growth of Cambodia and Thailand. This route shall also serve as an important economic artery for the Greater Mekong Subregion and the ASEAN as well. In the GMS and ASEAN context, this road will link Phnom Penh and Koh Kong of Cambodia with Trat Province of Thailand, thereby also linking Thailand to Viet Nam via the Southern Coast of Cambodia.
The National Road 48 that we are now upgrading will connect the National Road 4 to National Road 3 at Veal Rinh and Kampot. Further on NR48 connects with NR33, the section between Kampot and Kampong Trach. NR 33 is currently under construction with financing from the World Bank and the Republic of Korea. Thus the upgrading of NR48 will be completed at the same time as NR3 and NR33. Therefore the work on NR48 will help fulfill the vision of the GMS program of a regional network of road links along the Southern coastal zones of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The fulfillment of this vision will certainly go a long way to enhancing the dynamism of the region and ultimately help improve the lives of the peoples of the entire region.
Once again, on behalf of the people and government of Cambodia, I deeply and most sincerely thank the people and government of Thailand for providing this generous grant for the construction of the 4 bridges and the concessional credit for upgrading NR48. I am also very grateful for the good cooperation in all sectors that Thailand has provided to Cambodia.
May I also congratulate and thank the Engineering Corps of the Royal Thai Government for their outstanding efforts in the rehabilitation of the first phase of National Road 48. Their efforts have produced excellent results. The continued role of the Thai Engineering Corps in the second phase is most appropriate and warmly welcomed.
May I also congratulate the management and personnel of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Ministry of Economy and Finance, local authorities and all other concerned institutions and people who have worked and contributed toward the success of this project.
This road has become an important and strategic element in the record of cooperation and positive relations between Cambodia and Thailand. I appeal to all Ministries, local offices, institutions and all citizens of Cambodia to extend your cooperate and support to ensure the successful completion of this project.
Again I thank you all, most especially H.E. Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, for joining us here today. Again I also thank the people and government of Thailand for the assistance extended to Cambodia. In closing, I wish your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Five Gems of Buddhist blessings. May I now declare the official launching of the reconstruction of NR 48.