Hun Sen Sells ‘Win-Win Policy’ to Students

Following an appeal by Prime Minister Hun Sen for the country’s youth to better understand his self-titled “win-win policy,” which he credits for ending the civil war and peacefully reintegrating the Khmer Rouge, the premier Monday delivered an hourlong lecture on the topic to about 100 university students.

The lecture on Mr. Hun Sen’s policy, which purports to solve problems through magnanimity toward one’s erstwhile foes—allowing both to prosper—was hosted at Phnom Penh’s Norton University with doors closed to the media.

Students attending the lecture said they were told by Mr. Hun Sen’s bodyguards not to record the speech and CPP spokesman Chhim Phal Virun later refused to summarize the prime minister’s message.

“Research it yourself,” Mr. Phal Virun said, explaining that he could not briefly explain the benefits of Mr. Hun Sen’s win-win policy.

“In two minutes, I cannot,” he said. “You seem to not be a professional journalist. You are a newspaper, you have to ask questions, not ask for descriptions.”

Students outside the lecture hall Monday morning gave mixed opinions about Mr. Hun Sen’s speech, but most said they supported the prime minister’s policy.

“For me, it is good. There was war in the past, but now there is no war and I think he has considered that the nation is important,” said That Kadompi, a third-year architecture student at the university.

Sun Sear, a first-year electronics student, said that he could not remember everything Mr. Hun Sen had said.

“He raised 10 points about the win-win policy, but I couldn’t listen to all of it because it was a lot,” Mr. Sear said. “The lecture was done to make us understand about the rescue of the country from the Khmer Rouge.”

Sok Eysan, a lawmaker and spokesman for the CPP, said Mr. Hun Sen’s policy had its roots in talks during the 1980s to end the civil war, and the successful efforts in the 1990s to coax the Khmer Rouge to reintegrate into the Phnom Penh government.

Since then, he said, the core concept of showing generosity toward one’s political foes had shown its utility in solving other problems, most recently being expressed through the new “culture of dialogue” between Mr. Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

“The vision of the CPP is to build the human resources of the next generation to continue to lead the country, so we need to train the next generation to understand the win-win policy created by the CPP,” Mr. Eysan said.

“There’s nothing better than winning together.”

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