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Fond views recalled in China-Cambodia ties

By CAO DESHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-20 09:41

Queen Mother looks back on how nations' warm friendship developed

As a promoter of the China-Cambodia friendship, Cambodian Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, 86, has forged a strong bond with China since she accompanied her husband, the then prince Norodom Sihanouk, to China in 1958 for the first time.

"China's constant and great assistance to Cambodia contributes in great part to the development of our country and the wellbeing of our people. China has been and will continue to be the number one friend of the Kingdom of Cambodia," the Queen Mother said in a written interview with China Daily.

The Queen Mother still remembers her first visit to China, leaving her impressed by the "warm welcome and friendship" from the Chinese people.

"At that time China had not yet reached the peak of its economic and political potential," she said in highlighting the welcome by the Chinese leadership, including the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong, and the Chinese people.

"They treated us as honored guests and old friends. Since then, during our successive visits to China, it has always been the same. China has always welcomed us with dignity and friendship."

In the following years, King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who died at 90 in October 2012 in Beijing, committed himself to advancing the friendship between the two countries. He paid several official and goodwill visits to China and spent his last years in Beijing.

"In the 1970s, Cambodia suffered because of internal dissent and foreign interference. China always sided with the Cambodian people and provided multiform aids to our country in order that Cambodia could restore internal peace and its territorial integrity," said the Queen Mother.

Generous help

China has never ceased to help Cambodia benefit from its own continuous and extraordinary progress in all fields of its national construction, she added.

The King Father wrote songs extolling the China-Cambodia friendship, such as Nostalgia of China, Long Live People's China! Long Live Chairman Mao Zedong! and Oh China, My Dear Second Homeland!, and left many touching stories about the profound friendship between the two countries.

The words of Nostalgia of China, in part, read: "You are a large nation, neither selfish nor arrogant; you treat countries of all sizes affably and equally; you defend the freedom, independence and equality of people of all countries and safeguard the peace of mankind."

The words "represent how much His Late Majesty the King Father was fond of China and the Chinese people," said the Queen Mother.

In November 2020, President Xi Jinping awarded the Queen Mother the Friendship Medal for her contributions to promoting the traditional friendship between China and Cambodia.

"Queen Mother Monineath has actively devoted herself to the cause of friendship between China and Cambodia in the past over 60 years, and has witnessed the development of New China," Xi said at the ceremony in Beijing.

The Queen Mother said that during her successive visits to China, she had been able to appreciate the rapid and tremendous development and progress made by China in all fields of its national development.

"I know that His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni has been greatly impressed by all the achievements of the Chinese people during his visits to several provinces of China. We both congratulate China and the Chinese people on their admirable progress," she said.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of King Father Norodom Sihanouk. Vice-President Wang Qishan met with King Norodom Sihamoni and the Queen Mother on Sept 15 in Beijing, acknowledging that the King and the Queen Mother have long been committed to bolstering the friendship between China and Cambodia, as the late King Father had wished.

Under the new circumstances, China is ready to work with Cambodia to build an unbreakable China-Cambodia community with a shared future under the strategic guidance of the two countries' leaders, Wang said.

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