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King Sihamoni Leaves for Vietnam Visit

King Norodom Sihamoni departed for Hanoi Tuesday morning, for a trip where he is expected to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two neighbors, Cambodian and Vietnamese officials said.

"The visit of his majesty to Vietnam is the second one over the past years," Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told VOA Khmer after the king's departure. "It is clear that this visit encourages the friendly alliance and stronger cooperation between the two countries."

The king was accompanied by a delegation of royal palace and government officials on a dedicated Siem Reap Air flight.

Senate President Chea Sim, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Prime Minister Hun Sen were also present for the official farewell.

Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay issued a statement Monday wondering "if his majesty will have the opportunity to propose to the Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet or with other Vietnamese leaders to release the Cambodian monk [Tim Sakhorn] and to procure the rights of living to Cambodian people over there."

Vietnamese Embassy spokesman Trinh Ba Cam said Tuesday the visit would strengthen ties between the two neighbors. He declined to discuss whom the king would meet in the capital.