Cambodia and “Diplomacy with Chinese Values”

The following are excerpts from a Xinhua article and a Huanqiu Shibao editorial on Sino-Cambodian relations after Norodom Sihanouk’s death. While the Xinhua article on a farewell ceremony in Beijing for King Sihanouk mainly expresses “atmosphere” through protocol, the Huanqiu editorial advocates Chinese soft-power efforts based on the experience of Sino-Cambodian relations — JR

Xinhua — On Wednesday, State Chairman Hu Jintao went to Beijing Hospital to attend a farewell ceremony for Cambodian King Sihanouk*) and had talks with [King Sihanouk’s widow] Norodom Monineath [Queen Monique], Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, prime minister Hun Sen, representing the Chinese government and people [in expressing] deep sadness and most sincere condolences.



Hu Jintao said that sadly, his majesty died from illness. Cambodia has lost an outstanding leader, we have lost a great friend, and are deeply saddened. I once again want to express deep sadness and most sincere condolences to the Cambodian  royal family, government and people, in the name of the Chinese government and people.


Hu Jintao said that although HM King Sihanouk was no longer with us, he will forever remain in the hearts of the people as a symbol of Sino-Cambodian friendship, his outstanding contributions for the development of friendly relations would go down in history, and motivate the people of the two countries to forge ahead to jointly write a new chapter in the traditional friendship between China and Cambodia.


Queen Norodom Monineath, King Norodom Sihamoni and prime minister Hun Sen profoundly thanked the Chinese government and people for the meticulous care they had given to King Sihanouk for a long time, and said that King Sihanouk had always worked to promote the cause of friendship between the two countries, seeing China as a second home. Cambodia would continue to carry on the King’s behest, continue to strengthen the traditional friendship, and to promote the good-neighborly cooperation and relations.



In the hall, a banner “deeply mourned Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, and underneath, in two lines, wreaths from Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang, Zhou Yongkang and others were placed.


There were also wreaths from Li Peng, Wan Li, Qiao Shi, Zhu Rongji, Li Ruihuan, Song Ping, Wei Jianxing, Li Lanqing, Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng, Luo Gan and others, as well as from the Central Committee of the CCP, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the State Council, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Central Military Commission and other relevant departments.



Also present were State Councilors Ma Kai, Meng Jianzhu, Dai Bingguo, and others.


After the ceremony, King Sihanouk’s coffin was flown home to Cambodia. Dai Bingguo accompanied the coffin on the same plane with Queen Norodom Monineath, Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and prime minister Hun Sen.


On Wednesday, flags in front of Xinhua Gate, the Great Hall of the People, on Tian An Men Square, and the foreign ministry were lowered to half-mast.  China’s embassy in Cambodia also expressed its mourning by lowering its flag to half-mast.


Huanqiu, as republished by

Cambodian King Sihanouk’s coffin leaves China today, to return to Cambodia. This time, Sihanouk, who was an occasional resident in China for some fourty years, won’t come back.



“He who is in trouble is met with true sentiments”, Sihanouk’s and China’s anti-imperialist values and protection of national independence resonated with each other, and Sihanouk remembered the warm, brilliant light from the collective Chinese people’s recognition and goodwill during that particular era. During Sihanouk’s life of ups and downs, rain and shine, China became his reliable second home, and a warm harbor […]


How China’s older generation of leaders established deep friendship with Sihanouk and opened the traditional friendship with Cambodia has become legendary in the relations between the two countries, and even in the global records of diplomacy. It embodies how, within the Chinese nation’s traditional culture, people are treated, and it reflects the charm and justice of China’s independent and peaceful diplomacy: principled, prepared, affectionate, and continuously friendly.


[…] We should practise diplomacy of values with Chinese characteristics, internationally establish an image of Chinese moral and justice, with heart-to-heart communication, with honesty in dealing with people, no matter the system, with respect for diversity. On this foundation, we should build and deepen friendships, a new form of relations between countries, and to promote democracy in international relations and even global peace, we should contribute a distinctive Chinese effort.


Sihanouk is a epochal vivid memory in Chinese diplomacy, but that he left must not become the end of an era.




*) The character 太皇 used in the Xinhua report could also indicate an emperor.



» Funeral Plans, BBC, Oct 17, 2012
» The Brilliance of Morality, Global Times, Oct 16, 2012
» Norodom Sihanouk, Wikipedia, accessed Oct 18, 2012



One Comment to “Cambodia and “Diplomacy with Chinese Values””

  1. King Sihanouk lived in truly interesting times and often created those times. Nate Thayer often talks about and sometimes also writes about Sihanouk, Kim Il-Sung ties. KIS built King Sihanouk a mansion in Pyongyang for goodness’s ake.

    I also seem to recall even in the midst and aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, China always made time to have advisors go to Cambodia. So Sihanouk was obviously able to make “friends”. I’m not sure if that’s accusatory or laudatory, but there it is.


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