Chinese President Hu Jintao (1st R) shakes hands with Cambodian Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk during the farewell ceremony of Cambodian King-Father Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 17, 2012. (Xinhua/Li Xueren)
BEIJING, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao bid their final farewells to late Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk on Wednesday.
During a farewell ceremony held at Beijing Hospital, Hu expressed his "deepest grief" over the death of Sihanouk on behalf of the Chinese government and people, saying Cambodia has lost an outstanding leader, while China has lost a great friend.
Although Sihanouk has passed away, he will live in the two peoples' hearts forever as a symbol of China-Cambodia friendship, Hu said.
Sihanouk's contributions will be recorded in history forever and encourage the two peoples to learn from the past and move on to write a new chapter in bilateral relations, Hu said.
Cambodian Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed gratitude for the delicate care given to Sihanouk by China, saying Sihanouk was always committed to pushing bilateral relations forward while treating China as his second home.
They also expressed willingness to carry on Sihanouk's legacy in advancing bilateral cooperation.
Premier Wen, as well as State Councilors Ma Kai, Meng Jianzhu and Dai Bingguo, also attended the ceremony.
Hu presented a wreath at the ceremony, as well as observed a moment of silence and bowed three times in front of Sihanouk's body, upon arriving at the hospital.
Former President Jiang Zemin and members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, including Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang, also laid wreathes to mourn Sihanouk after he died early Monday morning in Beijing.
Wreathes given by several former Chinese leaders, as well as the CPC Central Committee, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the State Council, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the Central Military Commission and relevant departments, were also placed at the ceremony.
Later Wednesday morning, Sihanouk's coffin was brought to Cambodia. Dai Bingguo, Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, Norodom Sihamoni and Hun Sen escorted the coffin.
Flags at Xinhuamen, the main entrance of the headquarters of the CPC central committee and the central government, as well as those at the Great Hall of the People, Tian'anmen Square and the Foreign Ministry, flew at half-mast on Wednesday to mourn the death of Sihanouk.
The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia also expressed its condolences by flying its flags at half-mast in accordance with local arrangements.