Retired King Norodom Sihanouk and his enigmatic pen pal Ruom Ritt will no longer write messages that involve themselves in Cambodian politics, the retired King wrote in a letter dated Thursday and posted on his Web site.
“Mr RUOM RITT and I, who have ‘produced’ some ‘displeasing’ texts, and who, for that, have ‘received on the head’ some ‘atomic bombs,’ have decided to no longer write texts” of a political nature, Norodom Sihanouk wrote.
The decision is not prompted by cowardice, but by the fact that the pair “are very old and sick,” the retired King wrote, adding that they are hoping for “as much as possible, a natural death.”
The retired king did not mention the border in his letter, but recent calls to empower the Supreme National Council on Border Affairs, which he heads, have enraged Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The former King has encouraged students and activists to report cases of border encroachment to him and has posted their findings on his Web site, criticizing the government for not doing enough to protect Cambodian territory. Speaking to reporters at the Council of Ministers on Friday, Hun Sen said the supreme national council was only a consultative body on border affairs.
He added that his own appointment as president of the National Authority on Border Affairs is not a “coup d’etat” against Norodom Sihanouk’s council. Those seeking the empowerment of that council “are pitiful because they are so stupid,” he said.
On June 18, Hun Sen warned an overseas “Sisowath Royalist” and would-be rebels to “prepare coffins” because he will “smash” them if they try to use the border issue to weaken his power.
Asked if he thought the threat was aimed at him, Prince Sisowath Thomico wrote in an e-mail from France on Wednesday: “If [Hun Sen] was not referring to me, would you have written to me?” Prince Thomico said he was “not at all” worried by the comments.