Prime Minister Hun Sen recalled how he had sacrificed himself to ensure Cambodia’s survival and gone on to maintain the hard-won peace that the Kingdom enjoys today, vowing once again that he would stop at nothing to defend national stability.

Hun Sen renewed his pledge at the March 13 official premiere of the historical biopic television series The Son under the Full Moon.

He said the series captured the grief he had felt when Cambodia was consumed by the flames of the civil war for three decades. The show is symbolic of the suffering of the entire Cambodian people, who had suffered just as he had during the war and Khmer Rouge reign of terror.

“These painful stories are a reminder that I must be stubborn and stop all those who attempt to undermine the peace. Each of my tears should serve notice that those who do so should expect no second chances.

“It must be understood that I am not obsessed with power. It is just that I know the pain of war, and will not let those who seek its return to triumph. They must understand this – no matter at what cost, we must protect the peace,” he warned.

The prime minister said he had risked his life and made many sacrifices to ensure Cambodia’s liberation from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime and would do anything to protect the hard-earned peace.

Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), said peace has led the Kingdom to development, stability and national unity, and that nothing can be allowed to threaten the value of these achievements.

“The people of Cambodia experienced the devastation of the civil war from 1970 to 1975, and then three years of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. More armed conflicts followed, meaning the people suffered for more than 30 years. They were forced to endure the most disastrous of circumstances, and have no desire to return to them,” he said.

Eysan added that it was because of the ravages of decades of civil war that both the people and the country’s leaders must absolutely protect the hard-fought peace as it is fundamental to stability, national unity and development.

“[Hun Sen] once fought for national liberation, and now he has declared he will fight for peace,” he added.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, echoed the sentiment. “After decades of insecurity, the Kingdom now protects human rights and has embraced the democratic process.”

He said the warning was timely, ahead of the upcoming July national election.

“Cambodia is approaching a general election. The political atmosphere is heated, as non-governmental political activists – and opposition politicians abroad – are attempting to conflate the situation, using misconceptions to disrupt the democratic process,” he added.

He said the prime minister was likely sending a message to political activists and overseas opposition politicians.

“He has drawn a red line under their actions. Fanning the flames of social insecurity for political advantage will not be tolerated,” he added.