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President Hu Meets Cambodia's New King

President Hu Jintao met with Cambodia's new King Norodom Sihamoni in Beijing Monday.

Wearing a royal smile, the former ballet dancer and cultural ambassador greeted Hu in the Great Hall of the People with Nin hao ("Hello" in Chinese) and the traditional Cambodian gesture of pressing his palms together in front of his chest.

Sihamoni and his father King Norodom Sihanouk, who developed strong bonds with generations of Chinese leaders, are scheduled to return to Cambodia on Wednesday.

Hu congratulated Sihamoni again on his succession and said, "I trust that under Your Majesty's leadership, the Cambodian people will achieve great progress in the construction of your country."

Sihamoni, whose coronation ceremony is scheduled for October 29, said he was very excited about the meeting. Cambodia sings China's praises and is thankful for the assistance it has offered over the years, he added.

Cambodia will continue to uphold it's one-China policy and to maintain close ties with the country.

Hu stressed that China greatly values good relations with Cambodia, and will continue to support its government and people in their efforts for stability, unity and economic development.

The 51-year-old Sihamoni was named King by a nine-member Throne Council of political and religious notables on Thursday, a week after Sihanouk announced his surprise abdication for health reasons.

In his official statement on Friday he said he accepted "this supreme mission" from his father in the country's interests and to help ensure the survival of the royal tradition.

The Cambodian monarchy is largely symbolic with no real power, but it carries weight because of the reverence most of the people give to it and is widely considered key to the nation's stability.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2004)

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