Minister of National Defence Tea Banh extolled the symbolism of the Win-Win Monument while speaking at a ceremony to commemorate 21 years since the signing of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s “Win-Win Policy”.
Representing Hun Sen at the ceremony on Sunday, Banh said the Win-Win Monument represented the Kingdom’s newfound national identity and unity since it achieved peace.
In his speech, Banh said the Monument was akin to an heirloom and will be passed onto the next generation.
He said it was not meant to generate income like other tourist destinations. Instead, the monument would serve as a museum and house important documents and other items for research so that future Cambodians will be allowed insight into the Kingdom’s “real history”.
The Win-Win Monument began construction on 8ha of land in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district’s Prek Ta Sek commune at a cost of $12 million.
The bulk of the funding was provided by the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall, with Oknha Ly Yong Phat and the government also contributing to its construction.
The Monument was officially inaugurated last year to commemorate two decades since the signing of Hun Sen’s Win-Win Policy, which officially brought an end to decades-long civil strife.
“The Win-Win Policy was a critical document to end the civil war and bring about peace and national unity to Cambodia.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen established the policy in his wisdom at a huge personal sacrifice so that the Cambodian people will remember our history and honour our heroism. Hun Sen risked his life for the sake of peace,” he said.
Win-Win Monument Construction Committee head Nem Sowath said more than three million tourists had visited the landmark since it was inaugurated a little more than a year ago. He added that 500 to 1,500 people visited the site each day, with numbers increasing to 1,000 to 3,000 on holidays.
“[The Win-Win Monument] was built to educate people of all generations so that they will continue to be informed and made aware of Cambodia’s true history.
“It’s up to future generations to execute the prime minister’s Win-Win Policy and ensure his vision for collectively building, leading and further developing the country,” he said.
Royal University of Phnom Penh history professor Sambo Manara told The Post that Banh’s words were directed towards the youth of Cambodia in the hope that they would commit to their studies and help preserve the Kingdom’s history.
“When we discuss the history of the nation, we speak of its national achievements. Concerning [Cambodia], the achievements truly belong to our country. Evolution and development are parts of the history of each period,” Manara said.
The pentagon-shaped base of the Win-Win Monument represents Hun Sen’s “DIFID” strategy, which stands for “Divide, Isolate, Finish, Integrate and Development”.
The upper part is a 33m high triangular monolith representing the three guarantees made to the Khmer Rouge – on life, jobs and property.
In his speech, Banh said: “Twenty-one years ago today, December 29, 1998 was set as the day to end the all-out civil war in Cambodia. From then on, Cambodia has enjoyed full peace and that was the opportunity to begin rebuilding and redevelopment.”