Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monumental exercise as city gears up for ‘Win-Win’ event

Monumental exercise as city gears up for ‘Win-Win’ event

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A military officer walks down the Win-Win Monument steps. Heng Chivoan

Monumental exercise as city gears up for ‘Win-Win’ event

With the three-day inauguration ceremony of the capital’s “Win-Win Monument” less than 48 hours away, a former Khmer Rouge cadre has described the 1998 policy of Prime Minister Hun Sen it commemorates as “a great achievement for all Cambodians”.

Hun Sen’s “Win-Win Policy” allowed Khmer Rouge holdouts to keep their military positions in exchange for defecting to government forces, ending decades of civil war.

Chhang Youk, executive director of the Documentation Centre of Cambodia (DC-Cam), which catalogues the ultra-Maoist regime’s atrocities, hailed the “Win-Win” policy of 20 years ago as “a legacy of peace”.

The Win-Win Monument sits on an 8ha square in front of the Morodok Decho National Sports Complex being built for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Chroy Changvar district’s Bak Kheng commune.

Construction on the 54-metre high memorial began in February 2016.

Its base is a pentagon, representing the five strategic points Hun Sen dubbed “DIFID”, which stands for “Divide, Isolate, Finish, Integrate and Development”. The upper part is a 33-metre high triangular monolith representing the three guarantees made to the Khmer Rouge – on life, jobs and property.

Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote on Facebook on Thursday that the monument represented national reconciliation, independence, unity, sovereignty, development and prosperity for Cambodia.

“The Win-Win Monument is evidence that Cambodia has been unified, with victory over wars, genocide, division and control, poverty and foreign interference. Cambodia now is leading its future towards prosperity and long-lasting peace,” he said.

Hun Sen also posted a video documentary pointing out that although control of Cambodia was wrested from the Khmer Rouge on January 7, 1979, armed cadres were still fighting into the 1990s. The video said real peace only came into existence in December 1998 by means of Hun Sen’s “Win-Win” strategy.

He wrote on Facebook that the monument was built with three goals – to commemorate the legacy of the struggle to achieve peace, to show the achievements of the past years and as research into achieving peace.

Bas-reliefs on the base of the monument detail the journey to peace, starting with Hun Sen leaving for Vietnam on June 20, 1977 before returning to help topple the Khmer Rouge, Sowath said.

Another video posted on Sowath’s Facebook declares: “December 29, 1998 is a day that we all have to remember as the ‘Win-Win’ policy of Hun Sen, when he got Khmer Rouge forces to put down their guns and come to live [with] one government, one prime minister and one constitution, and to get peace.”

Koeut Sothea, an ex-Pailin provincial governor and a former member of the Khmer Rouge, told The Post on Thursday that the Win-Win Monument is a symbol of the great achievements made under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“I congratulate the [inauguration of this monument] because this is a great achievement for all Cambodian people under the leadership of [Prime Minister] Hun Sen. We will try to protect this and to make peace sustainable in Cambodia to make Cambodia more prosperous,” he said.

Y Chhean, a secretary of state at the Ministry of National Defence who is also a former Khmer Rouge army leader, could not be reached by The Post for comment.

Chhang Youk, the executive director of the DC-Cam said the Win-Win Monument represented “a legacy of peace” and was regional history the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) could learn from.

“I hope Asean will consider this as a legacy of peace, and as a lesson in human rights and peace studies for all Asean countries. It is significant that Cambodia can contribute to social integration in Asean – not only economic development but also development in social integration,” he said.

General Nem Sowath, the head of the monument’s construction committee, declined to comment to The Post on Thursday as he was busy preparing the inauguration ceremony.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the