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Cambodia Prepares Condolences for Loss of North Korean Leader

South Koreans read extras reporting the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at the Seoul train station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. Kim Jong Il, North Korea's mercurial and enigmatic leader, has died. He was 69. The headline read "Th

Cambodia is preparing its condolences to the people of North Korea on Monday, after the passing of their leader, Kim Jong-il, who died of a heart attack on Saturday.

The government will offer official condolences to the citizens of North Korea, “who lost what they considered their most important leader,” said Phay Siphan, a government spokesman.

Cambodia maintains friendly relations with the reclusive nation, which were forged by the former king, Norodom Sihanouk, who is also expected to issue an informal message to Pyongyang, a palace official said.

Norodom Sihanouk had a close relationship with Kim’s father, Kim Il-song, who died in 1994.

“We regret the loss of life,” said Kem Sokha, president of the Human Rights Party. “But we do not regret the loss of a dictator.”

He expressed some doubt in the leadership of the country, which is expected to pass to Kim’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un. “Leadership descended from the family will not be secured for the future,” he said.

Ou Virak, director of the Cambodian Center for Human rights, said there would be “some changes” in politics with North Korea, but he said he expected the regime to remain as opaque as ever.