Hun Sen Meets King to Discuss Beijing Trip Debriefing

Prime Minister Hun Sen met with King Norodom Sihanouk for an hour Thursday morning to present the results of his trip to China, an adviser said.

“[Hun Sen] met with the King to report the results of his visit to China,” Om Yentieng, a top aide to Hun Sen, said Thursday. “I think the King was happy with the results.”

The prime minister led a delegation to China on Feb 9 for a four-day trip by invitation from Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, de­signed to strengthen economic and cultural ties.

In China, the prime minister signed five cooperation and financial assistance deals worth more than $220 million to help resuscitate the Cambodian economy, according to Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong, a member of the Cambodian delegation.

But the timing of the prime minister’s meeting, coming one day after National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh met with the King to discuss creation of a Senate, also had diplomats speculating Thurs­day that the meeting covered the Senate issue as well.

“I think we might suppose this is a result of the meeting between the King and Prince Ranariddh,” one Asian diplomat said.

He theorized that Hun Sen would like the Senate to be created as soon as possible, preferably before the Consultative Group meeting in Tokyo next week. While he felt this would be an unlikely scenario, he estimated the whole process might take under three weeks, provided negotiations about governorships and ambassadors’ posts, thought to be linked with Senate nominees, are satisfactorily settled.

Om Yentieng had no comment on whether the prime minister spoke with the King about the Sen­ate issue.

 

 

 

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