Princess Norodom Bopha Devi, minister of Culture and Fine Arts, returned to Cambodia on Thursday evening from a four-day trip to Thailand, said Ham Kimson, secretary to the minister. Ham Kimson declined to give details about the trip, but a Bangkok Post editorial on Thursday described the visit as a “series of gaffes by [Thai officials] who should have known better.”
Princess Bopha Devi was in Thailand partly to help launch a month-long exhibit of 122 stolen Khmer artifacts—most from Banteay Chhmar temple in the northwest—which are to be returned to Cambodia after the exhibit ends. But The Post reported that the princess was not formally greeted by her Thai counterpart, Education Minister Somsak Prisananantakul after her arrival in Bangkok. The deputy minister of Education, Kanchana Silpa-archa, greeted the princess, but then Kanchana said she had more pressing matters and left Princess Bopha Devi in the care of the permanent secretary for education at a dinner, The Bangkok Post said.
A Thai embassy official in Cambodia said the newspaper’s comments “were not good at all for the relationship between the two countries.”