In his opening address at the Asia-Pacific Summit at the Peace Palace yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen highlighted the government’s achievements in maintaining peace in the Kingdom after decades of civil war.
The Kingdom is hosting the Asia-Pacific Summit this year until tomorrow.
The theme for this year is: “Addressing the Critical Challenges: Peace, Reconciliation, Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Value”.
“Peace that Cambodia is enjoying at the present time also reflects Cambodia’s experience,” Mr Hun Sen said. “Cambodia was plagued by war and was able to achieve the new transformation proudly.”
“Cambodia today is a country ruled by laws and firmly respects the principles of multi-party democracy with regularly held free and fair elections with the purpose to grant rights to people to choose their country’s leader,” he added.
He said Cambodia was able to secure peace in the late 1990s through his win-win policy.
“Although the genocidal regime [Khmer Rouge] ended on January 7, 1979, the civil war within the country dragged on,” Mr Hun Sen said. “At the time, Cambodia used one hand to prevent the return of the genocidal regime and another hand was used to develop the country from scratch.”
“Cambodia faced unjust economic embargoes imposed by other countries,” he added.
Mr Hun Sen said since the civil war ended, Cambodia managed to develop all sectors with an average growth rate of 7.7 percent annually.
“The poverty rate has declined from 53.2 percent in 2004 to lower than 10 percent in 2019,” he said, adding the Kingdom became a lower-middle-income country in 2015.
His speech was followed by Myanmar Vice-President Henry Van Thio, Palau Vice-President Raynold Oilouch, Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Pakistan National Assembly Vice-President Qasim Khan Suri, former Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla and former President of East Timor Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao.
Thomas Walsh, chairman of the Universal Peace Federation, yesterday read out the International Summit Council for Peace Resolution that was signed after Mr Hun Sen’s speech.
He then lauded Mr Hun Sen’s efforts for bringing peace in the Kingdom decades ago. He said nations must work together to end global challenges.
“Countries must work together…to carry out a comprehensive approach to peace and development,” Mr Walsh said. “We acknowledge the win-win policies of [Prime Minister Hun Sen], which have brought about the reconciliation and sustainable, socio-economic development of the Cambodian people as a unique source of inspiration and model for peace and peace-building.”
Jose de Venecia, co-chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties’ standing committee and former speaker of the Philippine Parliament, yesterday noted Cambodia’s ability to move forward after decades of armed conflict.
“It’s a fitting tribute to Cambodian people whose indomitable spirit surmounted decades of armed violent conflicts and the atrocity of the Khmer Rouge regime,” he said. “Despite the past tragedy and current challenges…Cambodia, under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen, has been enjoying sustainable economic growth and infrastructure development.”