Her Excellency Hak Ja Han Moon, Co-Founder of the Universal Peace Federation;
Dr. Thomas G. Walsh, President of the Universal Peace Federation:
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is my honor and pleasure to deliver remarks at the “7th World Rally of Hope: Think Tank 2022,” under the theme “Peace in the Asia-Pacific.”
As a country placing priceless value upon peace, Cambodia highly appreciates the organization of this rally to strengthen the culture of peace and mutual trust under the framework of international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
At present, one geo-political event in the region that has attracted a great deal of international attention is the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the total take-over of Kabul by the Taliban.
This event is a grim and bitter reminder of what happened in Cambodia on April 17, 1975, when the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh, which was marked with utmost grief.
Cambodia and the Cambodian people remember the tragedy and are determined to prevent such a similar event from happening again.
Clearly, the geo-political landscape in the Asia-Pacific region is fast-changing with global power shifts and geo-political rivalries getting more complex and delicate with utmost dangers.
Unfortunately, to some extent, geopolitical fault lines have been re-drawn, which could render the tendencies for atypical disruptions, i.e. small states are coming under mounting pressure to choose sides against their will and interest.
Learning from the practical experiences unfolding from the political developments in Afghanistan and elsewhere, we vividly understand that peace and nation-building can only be achieved by local stakeholders in the conflicting country. Other countries cannot perform the roles of those stakeholders in achieving these objectives.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize that “national ownership” is the key to success and sustained peace.
In other words, other countries cannot transplant political values and systems upon any country, as these fundamentals need to be indigenously developed corresponding to the political, economic, social and cultural contexts of each individual country.
In fact, Cambodia is an example of a model for others to draw experiences from.
Our full peace has been built from the participation of all relevant parties in the country.
I would like to emphasize that in the early 1990s, Cambodia could not achieve full peace even after the international community spent about USD 2 billion.
The war was prolonged until December 1998, when Cambodia was able to achieve full peace after the implementation of the Win-Win policy to find a political solution among ourselves.
In this regard, I re-emphasize that we must have “national ownership” in peace-building and nation-building in the post-conflict period.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am indeed proud that the Asian Vision Institute (AVI) based in Cambodia has been chosen to serve as the Asia-Pacific Secretariat of “Think Tank 2022.”
I am of the view that think tanks also have an important role in contributing to crisis resolution and promoting peace-keeping activities through in-depth analysis and cultivating the spirit of exchange of views and dialogue.
In addition, think tanks must attach high priority to realism with constructive spirit and avoidance of extremism, as well as to promote the principle of mutual understanding and the value of diversity in study, analysis and policy recommendations in the cause of seeking and maintaining peace—particularly ensuring inclusive development for humankind.
Finally, I wish all the delegates good health and happiness. Also, I wish this 7th Rally of Hope a fruitful success.