“National Road 7 from Katie to Stung Treng to Trapeang Kreal [at the Cambodian-Lao border] of 196.8 km including the Sekong Bridge of 1,057 meters and the Prek Chhloung Bridge of 137 meters, built with credit without interest provided by the People’s Republic of China, was officially inaugurated on the morning of 29 April 2008, presided over by Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia H.E. Madame Zhang Jin-Feng.
“In his speech, Minister of Public Works and Transport Mr. Sun Chanthol said that the maintenance plan of National Road 7 is for a length of 196.8 kilometers; separately for roads of 192.8 kilometers in which there are 225 culverts and twelve small and medium bridges of 761 meters, and there is a new long bridge of 1.057 meters crossing the Sekong River in Stung Treng, costing totally about US$80 million, of which Yuan 530 million [approx. US$75.8 million] is a loan without interest from the government of the People’s Republic of China, and a co-financing of approximately US$ 4.3 million from the Royal Government of Cambodia.
“The Minister continued that, furthermore, the Royal Government of Cambodia also received grant aid from the government of the People’s Republic of China to connect the rest of the road of about four kilometers from National Road 7 of Cambodia to Road 13 of Laos, which has also been finished at this time. At the same time, the Chinese government also added a grant aid of US$600,000 to clear mines and unexploded ordnance on both sides of National Road 7 from the Kratie provincial town to the Cambodian-Laotian border. Mr. Sun Chanthol confirmed that the roads are constructed according to the third-class of technical road construction standards of the People’s Republic of China, by paving the roads thee times by the Shanghai Construction General Company, and have it checked technically by the 3rd Chinese’s railroad institute for research and planning. According to the plan, it takes 44 months for the construction, so it would be finished during the coming August 2008, but clearly it was achieved one year before the plan, excluding the second step of the road construction of four kilometers.
“The ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Cambodia, H.E. Zhang Jin-Feng, said that National Road 7 is an important project among the Chinese government’s aid in Cambodia. Since the beginning of the construction on 18 November 2004, China and Cambodia have cooperated honestly and closely to find all ways to ensure that the engineering progressed smoothly.
“She went on to say that the success in the construction of National Road 7 is also one more great achievement of the Chinese-Cambodian cooperation. National Road 7 has been constructed and opened for traffic as a good and big present for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both countries – China and Cambodia. The right way takes all of us to a better future. Surely, the opening of traffic on National Road 7 will ease the living standards of the Cambodian citizens alongside the road. At the same time, this road links some roads of the countries in the region to China, and it is also very meaningful in promoting the construction of transport corridors of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, to speed up the integration in the region. So it can be said that this road is a road for cooperation for development, and it is a road which has advantages for all towards a win-win together, and it is also a road full of hope.
“She continued that at the 3rd Summit of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, which was held in March this year, the Chinese Prime Minister Mr. Wen Jiabao presented eight requests, among which the accelerated constructions of roads and to push for economic development in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, were the first priority goal. This shows the intention of the Chinese government to strengthen the cooperation with the countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, and its support towards a joint, prosperous development.
“On that occasion, Samdech Akkak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen stated that this is a great accomplishment of mutual cooperation, and is a present for the 50th anniversary of Cambodian-Chinese cooperative relations, which all Cambodian citizens have noted in their heart.
“To make the right judgment, hitting exactly on the root of the problem, is to really and successfully achieve the alleviation of poverty of the people, especially to achieves the Millennium Development Goals, which require each country to have alleviated poverty by 2015. Samdech Dekchor stressed that the opening of National Road 7 is strengthening new opportunities in organizing the basis for economic growth, to take benefits as much as possible also to the northeast of the country.
“Samdech Dekchor stated that the National Road 7 is not just a trunk road for a joint development program of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, but also it shows new evidence, clearly the involvement of our country by implementing the infrastructure development policy of the Royal Government, by strengthening the transportation system all over the Kingdom of Cambodia, to facilitate commerce and to push the development of rural areas and tourism, and to integrate these within the region and with the world. Today is also a grand day, to be noted in the history of both Cambodia and Laos, when the National Road 7 of Cambodia is connected to the National Road 13 of Laos, with six kilometers, with a cooperative grant financing from China for both countries. The link of the Asia Road Number 11, which starts from Vientiane, crossing Lao provinces, Trapeang Kreal and Stung Treng to Sihanoukville, is a result of close and long-term cooperation of the governments of the countries in the region, based of the current of globalization and cooperation, promoting joint development for the nations of Asia which are facing many problems, such as the increase of the prices of fuel and food.
“Samdech went on to say, “I name this Asia Road Number 11 the Economic Dragon for Cambodia.” The connections within a road system where each road is connected to the others, will, in the near future, after the National Road 76 from Snuol to Sen Monorum and Dak Dam (at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border), National Road 78 from Ou Pong Moan to Ban Lung and to Ou Ya Dav, and National Road 66 from the the iron mine area in Rovieng [Preah Vihear], to Thala Barivat, which connects the Cambodian Economic Dragon, create connections with each other in the economic current towards the dragon’s head area in Sihanoukville, to ship goods to other countries over the high seas.
“I still adhere to the stance to continue to restore and build more infrastructure, to be the basis of the internal integration by connecting to every area throughout the country - the cities, populated areas, and remote areas, and to continue to integrate the region to facilitate business.
“The construction of infrastructure represents an actual success, and it helps the transport within the economic sector very well.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6332, 30.4.2008