PHNOM PENH: King Norodom Sihamoni returned safely from his trip to France on November 19, having strengthened diplomatic ties between Cambodia and its former colonizer in the fields of cultural preservation and healthcare investment.
Multiple dignitaries, including the current and former Prime Ministers, greeted the King upon his arrival to the Phnom Penh International Airport Sunday night. The monarch spent a week in France meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting his father’s archive and attending the Fourth Inter-Governmental Conference for the Safeguarding and Development of Angkor.
Having departed for France on November 12, the King met with French President Emmanuel Macron the next day. During their meeting, the French President pledged continued assistance in Cambodia’s healthcare sector, especially in improving its access to technology. He also promised to continue promoting and preserving Cambodian culture by providing experts and restoration help. The French government supported Cambodia’s candidacy to host the 2026 Francophonie Summit, which will attract more international attention to the Kingdom’s progress.
During his trip, King Norodom Sihamoni also paid a visit to review the archives from his father’s era. The late King Norodom Sihanouk maintained close relations with France after declaring Cambodia’s independence from the European country in the 1950’s. The King wrapped up his visit in France by visiting the Chateau de Fountainebleau, a castle located in Siem Reap’s French sister city.
During his time abroad, Senate President Say Chhum was Acting Head-of-State-a role which will be given to former Prime Minister Hun Sen when he takes over the Senate early next year.