PHNOM PENH —
A former Cambodian prime minister has said that North Korea should have the same rights to possess nuclear weapons as any other world power following another missile test last week that drew criticism from the international community.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh, president of the royalist Funcinpec party, questioned why the United States and its allies were able to maintain large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, but North Korea was not.
“I wanted to ask why the U.S., South Korea and Japan can have nuclear, but North Korea cannot? It is not right. If they have [nuclear weapons], all have to have, if they don’t have, all don’t have,” he said.
Tensions between North Korea and the United States have increased since the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January and following the trading of threats between the two countries over the North’s nuclear weapons program.
Prince Rannaridh recently told local media that if China was unable or unwilling to mediate between the two sides, he would step in to talk with the North during a visit to the country scheduled for July.
“If one of the most powerful countries like China, which is a close friend to North Korea, cannot solve it, it will be difficult for us, Cambodia,” he said.
He said he had met the North’s envoy to Cambodia, Ma Chol Su, in April in Phnom Penh to discuss the visit.
Prince Ranariddh is the son of the late King Norodom Sihanouk, who formed close relations with the regime of Kim Il Sung in the early 1970s.