» 10/15/2012 09:47 CAMBODIA Former king Norodom Sianouk is dead He was 89. His body will be brought to Cambodia, cremated and buried in the royal palace. His life contradictory sign of the history of conflict in his country: from French colony to independent country, a victim of the Vietnam War to the dictatorship of the Khmer Rouge, from Vietnamese feud to democratic country. He abdicated in 2004 in favor of his son Sihamoni. Thanks to him - and his wife - diplomatic relations with the Holy See restored, interrupted by Pol Pot.
/ Agencies) - Norodom Sianouk, former king of Cambodia, died today in a
hospital in the Chinese capital, after being struck by a heart attack. The
king, who spent many years in Beijing for political reasons and for treatment,
was 89 years old.
accordance with his wishes, his body will be cremated and taken to Cambodia. His
ashes will be buried in the royal palace of Phonm Penh. His
assistant, Prince Sisowath Thomico, pointed out that his sovereign relative
died on the last day of Pchum Ben, the feast of the dead. Although
he abdicated in 2004 in favor of his son Norodom Sihamoni, the figure of the
king was still very popular in the country, and considered almost a deity
especially in the rural world.
his last period in Cambodia - thanks to the intervention of his wife, Queen
Monique - he reopened diplomatic relations with the Holy See (1994), confirming
the steps towards religious freedom of the Catholic Church, which began a few
Thomiko said that the life of Sianouk "belongs to Cambodia and to
fact, his life reflected all the contradictions and hopes of the country, which
in the past few decades, went from being a French colony to first a military,
then communist dictatorship, and finally a budding democracy.
October 31, 1922 by King Norodom Suramarit, in 1941 Sianouk was crowned prince
by the French, who hoped to be able to dominate him. But
after the war he began a campaign for the independence of his country, obtained
in 1953. He
then abdicated in favor of his father, assuming the post of prime minister. He was
famous for his constant and continuous resignations followed by returns to
the '60s and '70s the country was involved in the Cold War fought on Vietnamese
soil and then throughout Indochina. In
'1970, Lon Nol, one of his generals, supported by the United States, seized
power and Sianouk fled to Beijing. Here
- thanks to China - he formed an alliance with the Khmer Rouge. In
1975 the Khmer Rouge of Pol Pot took control of Cambodia. Sianouk returned as king,
but was placed under house arrest in his palace, as the country suffered under
the Communist dictatorship that killed nearly 2 million people. Later,
Sianouk condemned the actions of the Khmer Rouge.
1979 the Vietnamese defeated the Khmer Rouge in the period of uncertainty,
Sianouk fled to Beijing, to return to Cambodia in 1993, with the advent of a
democratic state, sponsored by the UN. In
the last years of his stay in the country he sought to resolve the divisions
and struggles between various factions - including that of his son Norodom
Ranariddh - and the strong man Hun Sen, but without much success. In
2004 he abdicated in favor of his son Sihamoni and often lived in Pyongyang or
Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing condolences for the
death of Sianouk, described as "a great friend of the Chinese people."