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Cambodia-Vietnam Economic Stimulus Route Officially Inaugurated

KANDAL: National Road No. 21, connecting Takhmao city to Chrey Thom by the Cambodia-Vietnam border, was officially inaugurated on Wednesday morning (23 March), under the joint presidency of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Park Heung-kyeong.

This road was built as a concession from the Republic of Korea between 2017 to 2019, and has a total length of 63.6 km. The Royal Government of Cambodia had planned to officially inaugurate this road back in 2021, but this was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony for National Road No. 21 in Kandal, the Minister of Public Works and Transport, Senior Minister Sun Chanthol, said that this road was built with a total budget of more than US $60.92 million, and connects Phnom Penh with other road networks in Kandal province through the three districts of Takhmao, Saang and Koh Thom, towards the Cambodia-Vietnam border (Chrey Thom - Long Binh).

He said, "This road has been playing an important role in facilitating all kinds of transportation, especially goods and agricultural product trade between Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as promoting and transforming the border areas into areas of development and growth."

The Korean Ambassador to Cambodia, Park Heung-kyeong, outlined the position of Korean assistance to Cambodia, and said he believes that helping to build this road not only alleviates the hardships of the Cambodian people, but also facilitates the movement of goods, which reduces many costs. He said, "I hope this road will bring a new path of hope for the Cambodian people who use this road to boost their economy.”

Citizens who attended today's inauguration also expressed their happiness for this new infrastructural achievement. Many said that before this road was built, it was very difficult for them to travel and do different kinds of work, but now much of those difficulties are gone.

A resident of Kandal Steung district, Khuon Sok, said that he was very happy with the opening of the road today. He said, "This road is important for the citizens of Kandal province, connecting us to the Vietnamese border. It is the lifeblood of our country."

Another resident of Koh Thom district, which directly borders Vietnam, 64-year-old Ou Bunthari, said that it was previously difficult to travel due to the small roads in the area and the extensive amount of damage.

"There is a need to travel fast. In the past we had to drive very slowly, it would take us a long time to reach the provincial town of Kandal. But now it is much quicker, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for taking care of his citizens and building National Road No. 21," he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen spoke at the inauguration ceremony and recalled the hardships of the past, such as floods, road closures, road damage and an overall difficulty in using the road. He said that the construction of the new National Road No. 21 not only alleviates the hardships of the people, but also helps the national economy, since it facilitates the traffic of goods between Cambodia and Vietnam and especially the connection of electricity from Vietnam.

"In terms of distance, this road is the closest to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. And we also used half of the money to build the Chrey Thom Bridge, and since the border is in the middle of the river, Vietnam contributed the second half of the money for the bridge. Now we built this road and we are really proud of the progress made compared to the old road. The old road was very narrow, some parts were only 5 meters wide. Just to widen this road, we spent US $9.34 million," said the Prime Minister.

Cambodia and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations in 1997 through the efforts of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has been steadily increasing, with Korea providing a lot of financial and technical assistance to Cambodia. Prime Minister Hun Sen stated that he is proud that he successfully pushed for the establishment of diplomatic ties with the Republic of Korea.

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