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Cambodian Prime Minister Responds to Criticism of Funan Techo Canal Project

PHNOM PENH, April 25, 2024 — Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet today used his social media platforms to respond to criticisms of the Funan Techo Canal project made by exiled politician Sam Rainsy.

In his post, Manet questioned Rainsy's understanding of the project's potential benefits, which he believes are clear to the Cambodian populace. “Is this veteran politician a fool, or does he know but pretends to be stupid! The whole Cambodian people have understood the benefits to the Cambodian economy and society that the Funan Techo Canal project will provide,” he wrote.

Manet criticized Rainsy for lacking the vision to recognize what is beneficial for Cambodia. “Is he really a fool or a wise, but foolish man? A kind of person who opposes just to oppose,” Manet added, noting that Rainsy criticizes without regard to timing or subject matter, even opposing projects that could benefit the nation and its people.

Rainsy recently argued that the canal, which aims to connect Phnom Penh with the Gulf of Thailand, would significantly harm the environment and disrupt local livelihoods. He described the canal as a strategic project for China, aiming to secure access to the Gulf of Thailand through Cambodia and Laos.

The Funan Techo Canal, Cambodia's inaugural waterway transport initiative, is designed to connect the Mekong River system with the sea. Spanning 180 kilometers in length, the canal is projected to cost $1.7 billion and take four years to construct. It will traverse four provinces—Kandal, Takeo, Kampot, and Kep—impacting approximately 1.6 million residents along its route.

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