Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan on Wednesday visited Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, according to Chinese state media.
Xi wished the royal family well and told them China had a “special relationship” with Cambodia characterized by deep historical connections, Xinhua reported.
Cambodia and China established diplomatic ties some 60 years ago, cultivated in large part by the late King Norodom Sihanouk.
Applauding the Cambodian royals’ contribution to bilateral relations, Xi said China’s friendship with the Cambodian royal family was strong.
He called for more interactions between the Chinese leadership and the royal family as well as people-to-people interactions “like close relatives.”
Xi also congratulated Cambodia on a “successful election” and said the countries would work together to grow the friendship in the future.
King Sihamoni and Queen Mother Monineath told Xi they were grateful for China’s long-lasting support of Cambodia, according to Xinhua.
Lao Mong Hay, a veteran political analyst, said the meeting may be unprecedented.
“I have never seen a visit like this before,” he said. “ The visit will relate to the strengthening of the monarchy’s power in Cambodia.”
Chheang Vannarith, a regional analyst, said the diplomatic gesture “reasserts traditional friendship as well as strong China’s support of the new government in Phnom Penh.”