King Urges Unity for Long-Lived Independence

King Norodom Sihamoni waved at officials, foreign envoys, students and members of the armed forces at the Independence Monument on Nov. 9, 2023, to mark 70 years anniversary of independence. Photo: Sem Vanna

PHNOM PENH – King Norodom Sihamoni has called for unity among the Cambodian people for long-lived independence as the country celebrates its 70-year anniversary of independence.

“Our nation has admirably turned its reputation to the greatest,” the King said during celebrations at the Independence Monument on Nov. 9.

“I call for people from all walks of life to solidify under the roof of the Constitution and the Rule of Laws to protect and build our nation.”

In 1863, Cambodia was granted French protectorate status, with French colonial rule lasting 90 years. The country gained independence on Nov. 9, 1953, and became the Kingdom of Cambodia, ruled by the late King Norodom Sihanouk.

It is also 70 years since the establishment of the Royal Cambodian Armed Force. 

The annual ceremony marks the royal crusade for independence of the late King Norodom Sihanouk who took the mission throughout Cambodia and across the world.

King Sihanomi recalled the mission of his late father in demanding true independence for the Cambodian people.

According to a treaty of Nov. 8, 1949, France recognized partial independence but Cambodia still lacked independence in many areas, such as sovereignty, justice, police, power, military command, diplomacy, exchange and distribution of its currency.

In May 1953, King Sihanouk pledged to sacrifice his life for Cambodia's complete independence, leading to the withdrawal of French troops and marking the end of the crisis between Cambodia and France.

King Charles  III of the United Kingdom also congratulated Cambodia on the anniversary.

“I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to Your Majesty, and the people of the Kingdom of Cambodia on this special day for your country as it marks its 70th Independence Day,” he wrote. 

“I look forward to the continuing warm friendship and the strong partnership between our two countries as we face these challenging times.”

Prime Minister Hun Manet said the country’s development had reached a new stage while every Cambodian had strong confidence and high ambition for national pride.

He set out five strategies, including nation protection, nation-building, social protection, mine-free status and an independent foreign policy.

King Sihamoni said Cambodia and the Cambodian people have a bright future under the Constitution that guarantees firm independence.

“Cambodia, a nation with a priceless legacy, will not have its territory and sovereignty be encroached upon,” he said.

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