BEIJING, Oct. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Our sincerest condolences to the royal family and the people of the Kingdom of Cambodia for the passing away of their former king, His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk. The loss is theirs, also ours.
Norodom Sihanouk will be remembered, in his and our countries and worldwide, as a towering giant in modern Cambodian history. As a great leader of Cambodia, he will first be remembered for winning and preserving national independence from colonial rule and foreign aggression. Through the difficult decades of internal strife and foreign intrusions, he was a symbol of national reconciliation and unity and peace. He has thus been a beloved leader of his nation and country, even after his abdication from the throne. He will also be commemorated as one of the founders of the Non-Aligned Movement.
His death has saddened many Chinese people too, because he has been a dear old friend. There is an unusual mutual sentimental attachment between the amicable former king of Cambodia and our government and people.
In the darkest days in the contemporary history of his country, were it domestic troubles or foreign aggression, it was China and its government that offered the most generous and reliable support for his fight for national unity, reconciliation and independence. Whatever he was going through, he knew he had our friendship to count on.
"In the most difficult years, there was no other country that offered us tremendous, selfless friendship like China," he said in an interview in 2002. Ours is the country besides his own, that he could call home. This country should be proud and honored that such a great man regarded it as his "second motherland".
The close personal intimacy that developed between him and the first-generation leaders of the People's Republic of China endeared the venerated former king of Cambodia to the Chinese public.
For the average man on the street here, fond memories of the legendary former king range from his sentimental lyric, My Dear Second Motherland, to the donations he personally made when natural disasters wreaked havoc in China. He was the most frequently seen and popular foreign leader on Chinese newsreels in the 1970s. For the considerable time he spent in this country in different stages of his life, there has been a peculiar closeness between this very special esteemed guest and his hosts - one that transcends the usual diplomatic rapport. He had family-like personal relations with late Chinese leaders; and he himself was more like a close relative to the ordinary Chinese.
At the core of the outstanding legacies His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk has left behind is the time-tested kinship between the two countries. While we cherish the memories of this wonderful friend, we should also cherish this special relationship and make sure it thrives and prospers.
(Source: China Daily)