Moradok Techo National Stadium, The Fruit of Cambodia-China Relations
Long Live! Kingdom of Cambodia!
Long Live! Cambodia-China Friendship!
Esteemed Samdech Preah Sangha Reach, Buddhist Monks, Sacred Objects,
Oknha Sos Kamry, Chairman of the Highest Council for Islamic Religious Affairs in Cambodia,
His Excellency the Ambassador, Chargé d’Affaires and Representatives of All Foreign Friends.
HE Wang Wentian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Cambodia,
Samdech, Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Compatriots, Athletes Here Present,
Compatriots All Over the Country and Abroad Who Are Watching Live Broadcast From Here
Today, we are all here to inaugurate the Morodok Techo (Techo Heritage) National Stadium (MTNS) and the 502-day countdown to the 2023 SEA Games. I am taking this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for its generous grant for this magnificent monument. It is not a dream. We all worked hard to build this national stadium with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) grant. I am very proud of it since it is a fruitful achievement in the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the Kingdom of Cambodia.
While Eating Fruit, One Thinks of Planters
Today, we invited 68 monks to come and join the inauguration ceremony of this great achievement. What do these 68 monks represent? I told Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh to ask for 68 monks. These 68 monks represent the 68th anniversary of Cambodia’s independence from French colony. The 68 monks also represent the symbol of the royal crusade of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk, who tried to lead the Cambodian people to stand up for independence and sovereignty of our nation and people. Everyone is proud of this day. Speaking of eating fruit, let us remember the planters. While drinking water, let us think of its source. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to His Majesty the (late) King for starting diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China but also the beginning of a new era, leaving the legacy whereby the younger generation continue to build friendships […]
China Aid Strengthens Cambodia’s Development, Independence and Sovereignty
Today (‘s achievement) is not happening by coincidence and in lack of communication. We have strived to build relations between Cambodia and the People’s Republic of China based on mutual trust, mutual respect, solidarity, political trust, respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty – the strongest foundation built since the popular socialist society era (initiated by the late King Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod). It was the foundation that we built our comprehensive strategic partnership. President Xi Jinping of PRC has dubbed our friendship “a steel friendship” that no one can break. Today (MTNS) is just one of the many achievements helped by the People’s Republic of China.
In terms of grants, this is the largest project that the People’s Republic of China has provided to us. The great achievement we inaugurated today is great. However, I think something that was even immeasurably greater is the depth of heartfelt feeling that the Chinese leaders (as well as the Chinese people) have provided for the Cambodian people. This achievement is very big, but what is even bigger is the encouragement that our friends have given in strengthening the socio-economic development along with the independence and sovereignty of Cambodia. The assistance of the People’s Republic of China not only helps with socio-economic development, but also strengthens Cambodia’s political independence and sovereignty.
I hope there is no pressure whatsoever aimed at punishing Cambodia just because Cambodia takes the liberty in developing relations with the People’s Republic of China. Indeed, today, seeing that we hold a solemn ceremony, even under the pressure of Covid-19, some may say we have violated external warning that prohibits relations between Cambodia and China.
Cambodia to Host the 2029 Asian Olympics
If it were not for Covid-19, today I would have invited more than 60,000 people for the inauguration. The stadium can accommodate up to 60,000 people. We gathered only less than 20,000 people because we have to follow the rules for health measures. The report of HE Thong Khon as well as the report of Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh showed the efforts of Chinese companies as well as Chinese workers, Chinese specialists and Cambodian workers in the course of building this stadium. According to the description, we have in this area more than 80 hectares of land for sport purpose […]. Together with the Win-Win Monument, this area becomes a good infrastructure to serve the entertainment needs of our people for gatherings, big ceremonies, and so on.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and thanks to Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, His Excellency Thong Khon and his colleagues who worked hard in cooperation with our Chinese friends. I have come here four times, including the one today. The first time was on April 4, 2017, when the construction site opened, which coincided with my official birthday. The second time was on July 29, 2019 to hold the last seat connection ceremony. The third time was on September 12, 2021 for the hand over ceremony from Foreign Minister Wang Yi, representing the People’s Republic of China […] today, we officially launch the inauguration, which will create the best conditions for the upcoming games. Coincidentally, granted the right, we are to host the 2029 Asian Olympics.
In 2011, Postponement of SEA Games Hosting Requested
… This achievement is what we wanted. As stated by HE Wang Wentian, it is not just the desire of the players and it is not just the anticipation of the youth, but it is the imagination, it is the anticipation of I myself so far. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to His Excellency the Ambassadors of ASEAN countries for their understanding of Cambodia in delaying our turn to host the SEA Games. I still remember that in 2011, during the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia, I asked all heads of state and government for understanding that Cambodia has not yet been able to host the SEA Games, as Cambodia needed to mobilize resources to develop the necessary infrastructure serving the need for socio-economic development. ASEAN leaders, especially former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, have strongly supported the righteousness of my thought to mobilize resources for Cambodia’s socio-economic restoration and development.
President Xi Jinping provides US$ 150 M Grant to Build MTNS
We have not been ignorant to the obligations that Cambodia has to fulfill as a country to host the SEA Games. I sought every means and worked with our Chinese friends in order to ask for their assistance in building this stadium. Fortunately, President Xi Jinping responded positively by providing us with more than 1 billion Yuan (approximately US$ 150 million) in construction funds, the largest of all grants to the Kingdom of Cambodia. As I mentioned earlier, the price of this building is huge, but what has even bigger is the generosity of our Chinese friends given to our unfortunate Cambodian people. Through His Excellency Wang Wentian, I would like to express my gratitude to the Chinese government and people for their assistance to this long-awaited achievement.
Ship-shaped Design Shows Connections in the Past, Present and Future
HE Thong Khon mentioned about (architectural) construction designs. What I admire is that the Chinese friend did not bring only one model, but drew up three of them for us Cambodia to choose. This is my remark. (This has) shown the Chinese friend’s respect to Cambodia. Even though it is a donor, the Chinese does not impose on us what design to take. The Chinese friend drew three options for me to make a personal choice. Because in the past our relationship born by traveling in sea, and in recent times, initiatives related to the ring and road, as well as the 21st century Silk Road, we decided to choose this ship shape to show our connection from the past, in the present and the future as well. I would like to emphasize this is one of the many benefits that Cambodia has received in the framework of cooperation, strategic partnership in all aspects and under the Belt and Road Initiative. I cannot know and/or understand what other people think […] but that is what Cambodia is thinking.
Another 502 Days to SEA Games
In addition (the facilities ranging from emergency exits to toilets), we have up to 34-room 5-star hotel that can provide more opportunities for those who need to stay here. Inaugurating the Hyatt (Regency) Hotel, I said that some people (who just get married) might think of having their honeymoon in Hyatt (Regency). Just rent them out. However, I do not encourage the gathering on February 14th here […] in addition, we have other preparations that are attractive and secure for the 2023 SEA Games.
Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh just mentioned about the rules of the sports that I have set out to ensure that our sport is an honorable. Losing or winning is normal, but we will not allow doping. In hosting the 2023 SEA Games, we are not aiming to win more gold medals through competing against the rules. At this point, friends from the other nine ASEAN countries will definitely participate in peace. We still need to do more work related to housing for players, some other infrastructure systems, such as roads that need improvement for the game. In just 502 days, the SEA Games will arrive after the SEA Games ended in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
[Starting the prepared text]
Due to time constraints, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Royal Government, to set out an oriented vision to announce the opening of the national campaign to promote the 32nd SEA Games and the 12th ASEAN Para Games 2023 as follows:
Firstly, ministries, administrative institutions, capitals, provinces, departments, units, and competent forces must participate in effectively promoting the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games 2023 in all its forms and through their various media outlets.
Secondly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, embassies, diplomatic missions abroad and other ministries and institutions shall participate in the diplomatic and foreign affairs campaign of sports, with the agenda of promoting the Kingdom of Cambodia hosting the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games 2023 for the first time. Using all the forums of bilateral and multilateral meetings, as an opportunity to broadcast live seeking international supports.
Thirdly, together, promote the honor and image of Cambodia through the influence of the SEA Games and the ASEAN Para Games 2023 in social education and outreach campaigns (on topics such as) “Sports Live in Peace,” “One person plays one sport,” “Cambodia is beautiful,” “Cambodia reduces traffic accidents and reduces the effects of drugs.”
Fourthly, the National Organizing Committee of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games 2023 must have a high sense of responsibility for the organization of the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games 2023, adhering to the principles of green sports and clean sports to maintain dignity and honor as the host the SEA Games for the first time.
National Sports Federations and athletes with disabilities strive to have training physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually to develop sports professional skills and fulfill their respective missions with a high sense of responsibility to host the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games 2023 successfully.
Fifthly, (I invite) Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, Neak Oknha, Oknha, Ladies and Gentlemen, and all private enterprises to support the 2023 Southeast Asian Games Fund to support with success the expenses for the organization of the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games 2023.
[Ending the prepared text]
Freezes budget four years so far to host SEA Games
These are the five key points recommended in moving forward with our preparation. As far as our budget are concerned, we have frozen budget for years. We do not take a one-year budget to do it. It has been four years so far that we freeze 30 billion Riel a year, or about eight million US dollars. We have frozen it this way four years now. From now until 2023, we have time to freeze more for this match. A sporting event is not just about inviting enough sportspersons. We need to have the budget to host sportspersons and to serve our competition.
We will also continue to practice rigorously, including my previous recommendations regarding video recording. There must be clear guidelines assigning responsibilities for the media. There will be more than one competition. There will be many games. TV stations, for example, must be prepared which sections needed promotion or advertisements so that the ones with professional skills can help filming them. Pay attention to promotion and dissemination […] (we) must make it happen to ensure that we host a safe reception in the competition on the territory of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
… This is the first time after Covid-19 attacked that we have a reunion today. I told HE Thong Khon to discuss with Samdech Pich Sena Tea Banh to organize this day with fireworks and art performances. Yesterday morning, I think if there was an art performance and accompanied by other famous singers, maybe we will have, not just 15,000 people, but more from other provinces. It would be difficult to control during the Covid-19 phase. So please be understanding. Previously, we were ready to perform a large-scale art show in the area, but we had to cancel it. We just fired the fireworks tonight and people may come to see the lights tonight. Come see the fireworks, but keep a distance. We continue our efforts to fight Covid-19.
Covid-19 Still Around, No More City/Business Lockdowns, Learn to Live New Normal
We have now reopened the country in all areas with the learning to live with Covid-19. We must continue our efforts to continue the process of vaccinating our people. The first dose is still available for those who have not yet vaccinated, including children. The booster dose continues for both adults and children. With the continuation of the vaccination process, we must continue efforts to protect ourselves through individuals, families, communities, taking responsibility for safety to ensure that our country does not return to the lockdown state. We accept the fact that Covid-19 is not over, but we cannot lock down the country or close the business forever. So we must learn to live with Covid-19, learn to live with a new normal trajectory, like today, for the stadium that can accommodate up to 60,000 people, we bring in less than 20,000 people.
As of now situation in Southeast Asia or within the ASEAN framework has improved and is under control. At the same time, I saw the news that European sports event suspended (because of) Covid-19 breakout in Europe. Last night we found another case of the new Covid-19 transformed Omicron. As I said before, please do not panic with this disease. It has not killed anyone except one person in Britain. We have a case of a Cambodian from Ghana and we have a case of an Iranian who came to Cambodia yesterday. We found the person positive (with Covid-19). The Institut Pasteur immediately discovered Omicron. Omicron has not yet killed as many people as Delta and Alpha variants, though.
Together Prevent the Country from Going into Lockdown Again
We work together to ensure that the 2023 SEA Games do not happen and we work together to prevent our country from going back into lockdown mode again. We have come to an obviously right way. Previously, we defined a wedding or ceremony to be limited to (more than 200 participants) and later to be limited to (more than 500 participants). Then, I announced again that we did not limit the event by number of participants but depending on the location. If we take the (number) limit here, we are putting almost 20,000 people. If we set each ceremony to allow only 500 people, we would have only 500 people present here. We cannot violate the rule. We take this definition depending to the size of location is more accurate […]
This evening (, for the fireworks,) may the relevant departments take responsibility for maintaining the safe distance when people visit here to avoid congestion. Each family can hold hands and walk close together. There need to be a gap between one family and another. This is my appeal to the participants here as well as the people who are watching the live broadcast […]. I hope that our compatriots living abroad, including our troops stationed in South Sudan, in Mali, in Central Africa, in Lebanon, can see what we are doing today for the achievements that the country is reaping from the cooperation we have been having with the People’s Republic of China […]
Managing MTNS on the 5 Principles Basis
Before concluding, I would like to take this opportunity to express my support for the management principles of the Moradok Techo National Stadium based on the five-principle foundation mentioned by HE Thong Khon. Building it is already difficult, but what is even more difficult is ensuring that the stadium is sustainable and long lasting. The five points principles that HE Thong Khon mentioned are enough for us to make this national stadium sustainable. This stadium (area) includes the connection between the sports areas, this stadium, as well as other sports pocket areas in this wider area, in addition to the Win-Win Monument, and the golf course, water entertainment and a hotel […]./.