Hun Sen, King Sihanouk meet, outcome unclear
August 12, 1997
Web posted at: 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT)
BEIJING (CNN) -- Cambodian strongman Hun Sen met King Norodom Sihanouk on Tuesday, hoping to get Sihanouk to approve the results of last month's coup which ousted the king's son,
. The outcome of the five-hour meeting in Beijing was not immediately clear.
Sihanouk, 74, has been in the Chinese capital for cancer treatment since February, but has said he will return to Cambodia soon.
In related developments from Cambodia on Tuesday:
- Hun Sen's regime tightened the screws on Ranariddh by issuing a warrant for the arrest of the deposed prince on charges of weapons smuggling.
Ranariddh, in exile in Thailand, denied the allegations, saying he was entitled to the weapons for use by his personal security force.
- Hun Sen's troops were massing for a final assault on royalist forces loyal to Ranariddh.
Hun Sen's army chief of staff predicted the royalist base of O'Smach near the Thai border, where about 15,000 refugees have fled, would be seized within a week. Thai army sources said Khmer Rouge fighters have joined the soldiers loyal to Ranariddh to defend O'Smach.
Sihanouk's mixed signals
Hun Sen, whose formal title is second prime minister, arrived in Beijing on Monday accompanied by newly appointed First Prime Minister Ung Huot, acting head of state Chea Sim and a delegation of government officials.
The private meeting followed a Monday offer to abdicate by Sihanouk, who has so far declined to endorse Hun Sen's rule, instead criticizing Ung Huot as a "puppet" of Hun Sen.
Sihanouk said he was ready to give up the throne as soon as he was confident that the Hun Sen would not criticize him for doing so. However, a short time later, the king also indicated he might not abdicate, instead returning to Cambodia as king to enter a Buddhist monastery.
Sihanouk has said he still regards his son as prime minister and considers Ranariddh's removal "illegal and unconstitutional."
Diplomatic sources said Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers agreed at a special meeting on Monday in Singapore to undertake a mediation effort to restore stability in Cambodia, with the May 1998 general elections serving as the centerpiece of their efforts.
|Indonesian Foreign Minister
says ASEAN wants to help but not impose a solution.
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That effort may include participation by the United States and China, ASEAN Secretary-General Rodolfo Severino said Tuesday in the Philippines.
Asked if the United States and China would be excluded from a planned informal meeting to discuss the Cambodian crisis, Severino said "no, if they are directly concerned, maybe" they will participate.
Cambodia is not expected to become a member of ASEAN until sometime after next year's elections.
Beijing Bureau Chief Andrea Koppel and Reuters contributed to this report.
Related sites:Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
- ASEAN - the official website of Association of the Association of South East Asian Nations
- Cambodian Information Center - includies Cambodian news and photos, academic papers on Cambodia, and homepage links
- Embassy of Cambodia - site of the Chancery of the Royal Embassy of Cambodia to the United States located in Washington, D.C.
- Cambodia - profile from CARE
- Beauty and Darkness: Cambodia in Modern History - documents, essays, oral histories, and photos relating to the recent history of Cambodia, with an emphasis on the Khmer Rouge period
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