Chea Sim Returns From Japan, Ready To Lead

CPP and Senate President Chea Sim returned Saturday from Japan after receiving medical treatment and is well enough to chair next week’s Senate session, officials and family members said Monday.

“He is fine now,” said Kunthea Borey, an adviser to Chea Sim. “He feels more healthy.”

She said Chea Sim, 72, had not undergone surgery while in Ja­pan and that the problem was not a tumor, as party officials had previously reported, but a painful growth on a bone in his neck.

She said high cholesterol and blood pressure aggravated the problem.

“It was high cholesterol and high blood pressure, that’s all,” Kunthea Borey said.

Officials reported last week that Chea Sim left for Japan on May 17 for urgent treatment of a pain­ful tumor in his neck.

But CPP Senator Chea Son, the party president’s former cabinet chief, said Monday that Chea Sim was in excellent health and that he only went to Japan for a general checkup.

“He just went to Japan to check his general health,” Chea Son said.

Last month, the CPP president’s reportedly ailing health had caused party officials to ex­press concern, after he failed to meet Burma’s visiting Prime Min­ister General Soe Win in April and a visiting Vietnamese delegation in March.

Chea Sim’s ailments prompted discussion over who should take his place if he were no longer able to fulfill his duties, though party officials denied any disputes among CPP ranks regarding a possible successor.

Chea Sim adviser Oum Sarith said Monday that Chea Sim is well enough to chair the next Sen­­ate session on May 30.

“He is OK, no problem,” Oum Sa­rith said. “Next week he will chair the Senate session.”

Chea Sim’s son-in-law, Sos Mach, also confirmed that Chea Sim was feeling healthy, and that the problem was merely a growth on one of Chea Sim’s neck bones.

(Additional reporting by Saing Soenthrith)

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