King Norodom Sihanouk will leave Cambodia on Jan 19 or 20 to seek medical treatment in Beijing, the King said in a statement Saturday.
King Sihanouk said doctors had informed him that he was suffering from liver disease, as well as problems with a blood vessel in his neck, which were linked to the health of his heart and brain.
“Due to two diseases, the Chinese doctors have invited me to be examined and cured immediately,” he wrote.
The announcement of his departure comes as the three main political parties extend a five-month-long dispute over the formulation of a new government and National Assembly.
In October, the King warned the parties he would leave for Beijing in January and would not be able to mediate their political deadlock until he returns to Cambodia in April.
Also on Saturday, King Sihanouk appeared on TVK, expressing his support for the CPP’s Prime Minister Hun Sen. Whether or not Hun Sen remains premier has been an issue of contention with Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party since the July 27 general election.
“We shouldn’t criticize Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife [Bun Rany]. He has tried his best” to develop the country, the King said. “According to the democratic law, the party that wins the election should lead the government, so we should offer Prime Minister Hun Sen to be the prime minister because the CPP won the election.”
Referring to Funcinpec and the Sam Rainsy Party, the King said: “The two political parties must accept Prime Minister Hun Sen.”
Although the two parties agreed to Hun Sen’s nomination as premier last month, they have maintained that his position depends on the approval of two-thirds of the Assembly parliamentarians.
King Sihanouk said he had never witnessed opposing parties in any other country object to the prime minister as the Alliance of Democrats has. He added that Hun Sen had the support of prominent CPP members, such as Senate President Chea Sim and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng.
He also urged the parties not to resort to violence to solve their dispute.
CPP spokesman Khieu Kanharith on Sunday said the parties would be able to reach a peaceful agreement without mediation from King Sihanouk.
“I think there won’t be any problems. The three political parties can solve the political deadlock during the King’s absence,” Khieu Kanharith said.
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, however, said he was worried the parties would not be able to find a solution without the King.
“I am very concerned of the King’s absence. The King always help to have positive results and compromise,” Sam Rainsy said.
“During the King’s absence, we will face difficulties to communicate” between the parties, he said, adding that he hoped they could solve the deadlock before the King’s departure.
Sam Rainsy also refuted the King’s statement that the winning party should secure the next prime minister. He said such a system belonged to only presidential elections, not the Cambodian parliamentary elections.
Funcinpec spokesman Kassie Neou on Sunday declined to comment.
On Friday, King Sihanouk posted a letter on his Web site, citing a famous Indian astrologer, “K. Subramaniam,” who had predicted he would live to the age of 96, surpassing Queen Norodom Monineath.
“You have two wives,” the astrologer wrote, according to the King. “The first wife is your work. You will live up to 96 years of age. Your life partner (the Royal Queen) will die before you.”
Continuing his quotation, the King wrote: “Your life partner is an incomparable lady. She is very pure and sacrificing minded. But you are not very pure, Your Majesty, compared to her in all aspects.” (Additional reporting by Wency Leung)