Sihanouk Wants Birthplace To Become Museum

Retired King Norodom Siha­nouk in a portion of his will posted on his Web site and dated Tues­day, said he would like his birthplace—the current location of the North Korean Embassy—to be­come a museum.

The will was approved by King No­rodom Sihamoni and Queen No­rodom Monineath. Several officials from the Royal Palace signed as witnesses.

The retired King said he loaned the property to Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea, as a token of his friendship and support.

“I offered His Excellency Mar­shall Kim Il Sung of North Korea, who supported me in everything and who I regarded as a sibling, the royal house ‘Tak Sin Pi Rom’ as the North Korean People’s Re­public Em­bassy in Phnom Penh,” No­ro­dom Sihan­ouk wrote.

He said the property, located near the Independence Monu­ment, originally belonged to former King Sisowath Monivong, who gave it to the retired King’s mother, Queen Sisowath Kosa­mak.

The retired King said he loaned the property to North Korea for a 20-year period, and that in about eight to nine years the property would again belong to his family.

“When the 20 years end, I publicly declare that I offer the royal house ‘Tak Sin Pi Rom’ to the state, the nation and Cambodian citizens as affiliated with the National Mu­seum,” the retired King wrote.

Cuch Phoeurng, secretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said the ministry would be happy to administer the property.

Officials at the Ministry of For­eign Affairs refused to comment Wed­nesday. Officials at the North Ko­rean Em­bassy declined repeated re­quests for comment.

Norodom Sihanouk also im­plored the government not to sell or alter his birthplace.

“Please, government, do not dismantle or sell it,” he wrote. “Please keep it as state property and re­pair, preserve it…both the building and the walls in their original form forever.” (Additional reporting by Soojung Chang)



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