Retired King Norodom Sihanouk has offered to pay for Cambodian women who have been left homeless in foreign countries or are working as prostitutes abroad to be repatriated to Cambodia.
In a statement e-mailed to media outlets Saturday, the retired King wrote that there are Cambodian women living in Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and southern Vietnam who all need to be brought home.
“Taiwanese ‘Gentlemen’ have brought Khmer women to be their ‘spouses.’ Today, these Khmer woman have been thrown into the streets by these very arrogant and contemptuous false Husbands,” Norodom Sihanouk wrote from Beijing.
“With the very high permission of our Great Leader, our Consul(?) in Taipei could send them back to Phnom Penh at my expense (economy class air travel),” Norodom Sihanouk said, adding that there are women in similar circumstances in South Korea.
Norodom Sihanouk also offered to pay for women working as prostitutes in Malaysia, Thailand and southern Vietnam to be brought home.
At least 79 Cambodian spouses living in Taiwan are currently in legal limbo, partly because their official Cambodian documents bear the words “PRC use only,” referring to the People’s Republic of China, according to an e-mail from a Taiwanese official to SRP lawmaker Son Chhay earlier this month.
Cambodia has followed a strict One China policy for years, and refuses to accept Taiwan as an independent country.
Hsinyi Luo, secretary to Taiwanese Interior Minister Lee Yi-yang, wrote to Son Chhay on Jan 9 stating that it is currently difficult to resolve bureaucratic problems concerning Cambodians in Taiwan, as Taiwanese and Cambodian officials have such little contact.
Son Chhay sent a letter to the retired King on Monday asking for his approval for Taiwan to reestablish its Economic and Cultural Office in Phnom Penh, according to a copy of the letter.
Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary of State Long Visalo said he was too busy to speak with a reporter. (Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)