PHNOM PENH, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Queen Mother Norodom Monineath and her son, King Norodom Sihamoni, expressed their profound thanks to Chinese leaders and doctors for taking care of former King Norodom Sihanouk until his death on Oct. 15, according to a royal message released to the media on Monday.
"We'd like to express our deepest gratitude to His Excellency President Hu Jintao, Chinese government, Communist Party of China, and Chinese people for their condolences over the passing away of the King-Father," said a royal letter signed by Queen Mother Norodom Monineath and King Norodom Sihamoni and sent to President Hu Jintao last Thursday.
They also thanked Chinese leaders for arranging a plane to return the King-Father's body from Beijing to Cambodia's Phnom Penh on Oct. 17.
Besides, they expressed gratitude to elite Chinese doctors for providing medical treatment to the King-Father for 42 years until his death.
"We are very satisfied with the friendship relations and cooperation between Cambodia and China and wish to see the ties grow stronger and stronger in the future," they said in the letter. "We will remember forever the great kindnesses of Chinese government and people to the King-Father."
Deceased former King Norodom Sihanouk was the founder of the diplomatic ties between Cambodia and China. The two countries established the ties in 1958.
Sihanouk died of illness at the age of 90 in Beijing on Oct. 15 and his body was returned to Phnom Penh by Air China jumbo jet on Oct. 17.
After a week of mourning, his body has been lying in state for at least 3 months at the Royal Palace for the public to pay their last respects before it is cremated in the first week of February next year.
Sihanouk reigned the country from 1941 to 1955 and again from 1993 until his voluntary abdication on Oct. 7, 2004 in favor of his son, the current King Norodom Sihamoni.
He was the king who led the country to gain independence from France in 1953.
He suffered from various forms of cancer, diabetes and hypertension and had been treated by Chinese doctors in Beijing for years before his death.