I am pleased to participate in the opening of the Annual Conference of Confucius Institute in Asia 2013 organized today.  At the outset, I would like to warmly welcome the presence of Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished delegates of the Confucius Institute of Asian countries, national and international distinguished guests, and all students who are here today.  This conference is an appropriate opportunity to jointly review and seek further understanding on the progress of the plan of action implemented so far in order to learn from each other and discuss and exchange experiences, set opportunities and challenges to set out the new direction for implementation in the years ahead.

In fact, the conference today is truly responding to the political situation of Cambodia which is fully peaceful and gradually progressing, especially in the time that the relationship between Cambodia and China has reached the comprehensive and strategic partnership cooperation.  Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the people and Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to thank the people and Government of China who are the great development partner of Cambodia, and have always assisted Cambodia in all circumstances in contributing to socio-economic development in Cambodia through providing grants, and concessional loans for building various infrastructures, especially the renovation and construction of roads, bridges. On top of the construction and development of physical infrastructure, the Government of China has always provided training of Cambodian human resources in China every year.  These works are truly providing the value and significance for development now and in the future as well as posing excellent condition to speed up the socio-economic development.  The cooperation between Cambodia and China has not only brought Cambodia with direct financial resources, but has also created employment, technological transfer, knowledge, and know-how for Cambodian, and these factors have boosted Cambodia to increase the value added and productivity as well as being able to strengthen and expand competitiveness of Cambodian economy in the international markets.

At this point, it should be noted that Cambodia-China relation has been more than 2000 years if counted from the visit of Mr KAING Thai, and Mr CHOU Ying, who are the China’s embassy staff, during the FUNAN period.  Cambodia-China has been gradually strengthened and expanded, and what is noticeable is the visit of Mr CHIV Takwan to the Royal City of Angkor, and he got back to China with Khmer cultures as clearly recorded in his document titled “Tradition of CHENLA People”.  As for this modern society, Cambodia and China has built diplomatic relation since 19 July 1958 under the leadership of King Norodom Sihanouk, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia at that time.  In this spirit, in order to continue this cohesive legacy, I myself and the top leadership of China have agreed to take the year 2013 as the 55th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relation between Cambodia and China, which is the year of Cambodia-China Friendship.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to highly value the management and staff in all levels of the Cambodia Royal Academy who have put greatest effort in encouraging the Central Confucius Institute, and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Cambodia, to fully support and honor the Confucius Institute of the Cambodia Royal Academy to host this Confucius Conference in Asia under the common theme “Learning and Knowing Chinese, Having Friends Around the World”.  At the same time, I would like to admire the Cambodia Royal Academy and the Central Confucius Institute, and Confucius Institute of the Cambodia Royal Academy, who have fulfilled their roles with high responsibility and achieve tremendous achievements so far, and have always provided opportunities for hundreds of students and officials to do a study tour and study in China.  Along with that, I would also like to thank and appreciate the ministries-institutions and related authorities who have paid attention to support and provide good cooperation to our Cambodia Royal Academy.

In this sense, I strongly hope that the management and officials in all levels of the Cambodia Royal Academy and the Confucius Institute of Cambodia Royal Academy will continue your effort to implement your roles in order to achieve more goals in the coming years ahead, especially to encourage Cambodian people to study Chinese, while the region of Asia, in particular, China has become the core to significantly promote growth and prosperity in the world today.  In this spirit, China has not only had high population but also potential of economic growth has been highly accelerated, and this will provide further significance to the Chinese language in the world.  I am of the view that learning Chinese is not only making friends around the world but also opportunity for high growth.  At the same time, Cambodia has been open to the studies of foreign languages that make the foreign languages learning center everywhere, and may schools have provided the Chinese education such as the Confucius Institute of Cambodia Royal Academy, and its branches.

In nearly 4 years, the Confucius Institute of Cambodia Royal Academy has achieved lots of achievements in contributing with the Royal Government to strengthen and expand the Cambodia-China relation, in which the participants who have studied Chinese language are up to 5000 people and hundreds of scholarship for students and officials to study in China. These works are to contribute to promote education sector and build human resources in Cambodia although we are still facing a number of challenges.  The effort and active contribution of the management and officials of the Cambodia Royal Academy is another catalyst to achieve the mission of Chinese education development to be more progressive, and ensure full competency of human resources, competition with equality and equal right in the age of globalization in regional and global level.  Through this, I would like to support and encourage the Confucius Institute of Cambodia Royal Academy in continuing its mission to expand coverage and academic curriculum to be more comprehensive for the interest of our society.

In fact, the Royal Government has always considered education sector as priority and have always increased investment on this sector making this sector better improved starting from pre-school to higher education in either public and private sectors, and these works have significantly contributing to the implementation of Rectangular Strategy-Phase II: Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency.  At the same time, the Royal Government has strengthened and improved cooperation with international academic institutions, aiming to enhance quality and productivity which are the mechanism to ensure efficiency of employment to Cambodian Youth according to the market need today.  Practically, the cooperation between Cambodia Royal Academy and the Central Confucius Institute is truly important for our society in contributing to the real need of Cambodia.

Besides, the meeting of the representatives of Confucius Institute who have been created in many countries in Asia is not only to provide opportunity for the Central Confucius Institute to review their implementation but also provide opportunity for the Confucius Institute to seek appropriate mean to accelerate the development of Confucius Institute in Asia in one hand, and to strengthen and expand international relation with China, on the other hand, especially not only to encourage each country in Asia to understand better on the Chinese culture but also be able to use Chinese language as official language.  This crucial duty has been given to Confucius Institute which is located in some Asian countries.  In this regard, I realize that “Phnom Penh Agenda” that was agreed by the Central Confucius Institute is to ensure sustainability of Confucius Institute development and continue to transform the result of the Annual Conference of Confucius Institute in Asia 2012 on the preparation of development plan of Confucius Institute 2012-2020 to receive more fruitful result.  Through the active discussion in this conference, I believe that this conference can really evaluate and be prepared to put out plan of action, measures, and new direction in order to succeed the masterpiece and new achievements in the coming years ahead.

In the same spirit, in order to further promote the studies of Chinese language, the exchange of experiences in science, and culture in contributing to socio-economic development of each country, I would like to provide a number of recommendations as follows:

First: must further promote the implementation of the 3 years action plan 2012-2015 of all Confucius Institutes in Asia.  I believe that the timely implementation of this action plan will make us able to build prestige of Confucius Institute through achieving the 3 Roadmaps which are: (1) verification of action plan implemented in 2012; (2) control the action plan 2014; and (3) direction setting for action plan 2015.

Second: must continue to strengthen the ability of the teachers of Chinese language in Asian countries.  We have been aware that teaching is a difficult task in providing and transferring knowledge to others and this is to be carefully implemented and cannot be overlooked.  In order to achieve these duties, I am of the view that Confucius Institute must put effort to achieve pedagogic training, encouraging teachers to love their professions, understanding the situation of the countries they are living in, and flexibility according to the culture of the learners we are teaching because the teaching has to be based on the mentality of students.

Third: must implement the action plan to study Chinese.  In order to achieve this goal, I realize that Confucius Institute must prepare to produce the teaching manuals in order to response to the scientific modernization, posing easy access for students as well as reducing time and other expenses of the participants.  In this regard, modernization has to be attractive to attract learners to love and like learning Chinese language.

Fourth: the Central Confucius Institute must inspire the movement to disseminate the Chinese language and culture in various countries, and must discuss to set up Chinese Culture Day and Chinese Language Day in all over the world.

I believe that all important issue mentioned above will be put into the agenda of the Conference of Confucius Institute in Asia 2013 in Phnom Penh and it will be actively discussed in order to seek appropriate solution.  These points will bring about the enhancement of youth and students ability on Chinese knowledge, increase competition, increase opportunity for employment, exchange of culture and partnership.

In this spirit, I would like to encourage our Cambodian youth and students to increase their efforts to upgrade their own ability, competitiveness, and opportunity for employment.  In general, the Royal Government has created a training platform for youth and students to be more progressive; thus all students must attach themselves to the studies of general culture in both skilled specialization and foreign languages that are the necessary knowledge to improve our living based on the view of “having people full of knowledge, equipped with good culture, and suitable living condition, makes the country more developed and prosperous with peace, happiness and dignity”.  These works will not only help speed up the integration of Cambodia with equality and equal right in all regional and global issues, but also truly achieve an economic growth based on knowledge, and ensure competitive advantage of other countries.

In total, the points mentioned above cannot be solved with efficiency at the national level of each country at all.  We are required to have clear cut strategies in order to ensure sustainability of relation between China and all countries based on the principle of national unity, sovereignty, and mutual interest.

In this spirit, although we have seen tremendous opportunities in front of us, I would like to request colleagues, management and officials in all levels of the Cambodia Royal Academy and Central Confucius Institute, Representative of the Confucius Institute to take these perspectives raised in this conference for implementation with high efficiency in order to achieve more fruitful outcome for the interest of respective country.

Once again, I would like to appeal to Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen and all participants to actively participate in the implementation based on the plan that has been raised in this conference.  At the same time, I strongly believe that all Cambodian youths and students will move forward with optimism, progress and prosperity based on a more comprehensive foundation of language, and this knowledge will provide favorable condition for the development of our society.

Finally, along with the Opening of the “Annual Conference of Confucius Institute in Asia 2013” now, I would like to wish Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, delegates of the Confucius Institute in Asia, and all students the best of health, success in their respective endeavor, and wish the Annual Conference of Confucius Institute in Asia 2013 greater success with fruitful outcome./.