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Hu meets Cambodia's new king in Beijing
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-18 00:29

Cambodia's new king, Norodom Sihamoni, chose China to make his first official appearance since his appointment on Thursday.

In a meeting Monday that underlined the strong bond between the two nations, he met President Hu Jintao and called China a "time-honoured friend, partner and neighbour."

President Hu Jintao meets Cambodia's new king Norodom Sihamoni yesterday in Beijing. The king made his first public appearance in Beijing. [Xinhua]

Wearing a prosperous royal smile, Sihamoni, a former ballet dancer and cultural ambassador, walked into Fujian Hall at the Great Hall of the People. He said "nin hao" (hello in Chinese) while greeting Hu with the traditional Cambodian gesture of pressing the palms of his hands together in front of his chest.

Sihamoni and his father King Norodom Sihanouk, who developed a strong bond with generations of Chinese leaders, are scheduled to return to Cambodia on Wednesday.

A coronation ceremony is scheduled for October 29.

Hu congratulated Sihamoni again on his succession.

"I trust that under Your Majesty's leadership, the Cambodian people will achieve great progress in construction of your country."

Sihamoni said he was very excited about the opportunity to pay respects to Hu.

Cambodia sings high praises of China and is thankful for the precious and selfless assistance it has offered Cambodia over the years, Sihamoni said.

Cambodia will continue to adhere to the one-China policy and to nurture closer good-neighbourly ties with China.

Hu said China believes that the succession of King Norodom Sihamoni will benefit the national stability and development of Cambodia.

China is willing to work with Cambodia to push for the continuous development of neighbourly and friendly co-operation, Hu said.

The fact that Sihamoni chose to make his first official appearance in China is symbolic of the strong bond between the two countries, Asia-based analysts said.

His decision points to the importance he places on continuing to develop Cambodia's traditional friendly ties with China.

The 51-year-old Sihamoni, was named by a nine-member Throne Council of political and religious notables on Thursday, a week after Sihanouk announced his surprise abdication for health reasons.

In his official statement on Friday he said he accepted "this supreme mission" from his father, in the interest of the country's stability and to help ensure the survival of the monarchy.

The monarchy is largely a symbolic position with no real power in Cambodia, but it carries weight because of the reverence most Cambodians give to their royal family, and is seen as key to stability in the nation.

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