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Former King Sihanouk To Travel to Vietnam

Former king Norodom Sihanouk will travel to Vietnam in June to help strengthen ties between the two countries, a Royal Palace official told VOA Khmer Monday.

“The visit of His Majesty reflects a close relationship and harmony between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,” royal adviser Sisowath Thomico said.

Norodom Sihanouk, who is 87, will spend from four days to a week in Vietnam, at the invitation of the government, his first trip since 1995, nine years before his abdication.

“The Vietnamese president, as well as the Communist Party of Vietnam, wish to recall the gratitude of His Majesty to Vietnam in fighting against the imperialist United States,” Sisowath Thomico said.

The former monarch’s visit comes amid rising criticism by the opposition of what it says is border encroachment from Vietnam.

Yim Sovann, a lawmaker and spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, said the party hoped the former king would raise the border issue with the Vietnamese government.

And Yun Tharo, another opposition lawmaker, said he will try to send to the former king a letter to help him discuss the rights of the minority Khmer in Vietnam.

Sisowatch Thomico said that under the constitution a king or former king has no power in any political discussion.