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Cambodia’s diplomatic foresight continues to fly high amidst global concern of Coronavirus Spread

Ek Tha / Share:
Mr Hun Sen has shown political skills and diplomacy in handling crisis and humanitarian needs. KT/Khem Sovannara

The spokesman of the office of the council of ministers, in an editorial said that Cambodia’s leaders in particular, Prime Minister Hun Sen, have a great understanding of the many and varied nuances of humanity, having gone through an enormous amount of suffering during the country’s civil war in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Cambodia’s conflicts and subsequent rebuilding of the nation has given the Premier a significant and in-depth understanding of the complex processes related to a nation moving from war to peace and wealth, from being hungry to receiving humanitarian assistance, through to developing a burgeoning free market economy with one of the world’s fastest rates of growth.

Through years of diplomatic efforts, the Prime Minister has interacted, without discrimination, with people from all over the world and he has worked tirelessly with the international community in the spirit of positive cooperation along with celebrating the diversity of mankind.”

Such Cambodia’s approach and compassion can be explained by understanding the meaning of the four-face of ancient Khmer statues of Taprum, which erected since 9th century, symbolised a welcome to all.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Wonder(s), the land of love and happiness, that with Mr Hun Sen’s skilled diplomatic foresight, has brought along peace, stability, friendly relations and mutual respect.

An example is the Premier’s quick response to warmly greet more than 2,000 passengers and crew members on the MS Westerdam cruise ship last month which was allowed to dock in Cambodia’s deep seaport after being turned away by five countries, including the U.S., as a result of fears that the Coronavirus may have infected passengers on the cruise ship.

All of the Westerdam passengers and crews have departed safely home from Phnom Penh International Airport after disembarking and spending time in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation (MFAIC) and other ministries worked tirelessly, under the Premier’s guidance, in order to secure the cruise ship to dock as soon as possible as Cambodia understood the suffering of the passengers and crews on board as they traversed the ocean with no country allowing them to dock.

However, Cambodia showed great compassion to the surprise of many.

“After Cambodia’s senior minister and minister of public works and transport received a request from the U.S. ambassador on behalf of the MS Westerdam for the cruise ship to dock at Cambodia’s port, I then issued a swift response of welcome to the cruise to dock in Cambodia,” the Premier recalled.

Mr Hun Sen, when speaking at a graduation ceremony on Feb 18, 2020 in Phnom Penh said “If Cambodia did not allow the cruise to dock in Cambodia, what would have happened to more than 2,000 people? I saw this situation as a humanitarian crisis as they were rejected by one country after another from docking and the food stocks on the cruise were running low”.

The compassion, words and positive actions of the Prime Minister have been heard and have received praise from all over the world.

“Even if the cruise ship had been infected by the COVID-19, I would have wanted the cruise ship to dock as soon as possible as Cambodia acknowledges and implements humanitarian principles as active members of U.N.”

“We carry out our international responsibilities accordingly. Our immediate actions allowed us to assist international efforts to contain the virus,” said the Premier.

PM Hun Sen showed his diplomatic wisdom, saying, “Phnom Penh is not a windbag, as actions speak louder than words”.

It is not the time to spread fear about the virus, he explained, it is a time to join hands and to work together to contain the virus from spreading using all means possible and to work with all individuals and communities to defeat the COVID-19 that is plaguing the world.

“We must be brave in fighting the virus and not be in a state of fear. We must keep ourselves and our environment clean as no-one will come to clean for us,” he told the crowd of graduates.

“I support President Donald Trump by taking this opportunity with other ASEAN leaders, to focus on controlling the current situation related to the spread of COVID-19 rather than other issues. America understands also the reality of geo-politics”.

“I see that U.S. wants to strengthen relations with ASEAN which is the U.S. priority objective,” said the Premier.

“U.S. President Donald Trump suspended the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit planned for later this month (13 to 14) in Las Vegas as he understood that the ASEAN leaders need to focus on fighting the COVID-19 virus,” he said.

The Premier also said that “there could additional reasons however only the U.S. can elaborate about these, acknowledging that the leaders of three countries of ASEAN, who represent half of the bloc’s population, would not be able to attend.”

Ek Tha
Spokesman of the Office of the Council of Ministers

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