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'Healthy' King to return in New Year

'Healthy' King to return in New Year

BEIJING - King Norodom Sihanouk is out of hospital after successful cancer

therapy, a spokesman said. His Majesty is to return to home in time for the

April 13 New Year, but not before a call on his "best friend" North Korean

President Kim Il-sung, the spokesman added.

"His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk

has left the hospital and his health is good," the King's spokesman said on

Monday March 21 from His Majesty's walled residence in Beijing.

"King

Sihanouk's treatment was successful. He can walk. He can do anything," the

spokesman said. "I don't think he needs to enter the hospital again, but of

course he must go in for regular checkups."

No date has been fixed for

Sihanouk's promised return to Cambodia, but the king is planning a traditional

spring visit to North Korea timed so he can arrive in Phnom Penh for the April

13 Cambodian New Year.

"He will be there for New Year, no doubt, but

before Cambodia he will go to Pyongyang to pay a call on Kim Il-sung," the

spokesman said.

"Kim Il-sung is his majesty's best friend so he visits

every year, especially in April," he said.

As in Beijing, the King

maintains an opulent residence in the North Korean capital, courtesy of Kim's

cash-strapped and politically isolated Stalinist government.

The

spokesman said Sihanouk had not left his compound since being discharged last

week from Beijing's top hospital, Number 301, a closed military facility that

also nurses China's octogenarian Communist Party elite.

Afflicted with

prostate cancer, which observers speculate may have spread to other parts of his

body, the 71-year-old King has been undergoing chemotherapy and had surgery in

Beijing since being diagnosed with the lethal illness last year.

The

chemical and radiation treatments resulted in the loss of the monarch's little

remaining hair.

"We hope it will come back, but don't know yet," the

spokesman said. "His hair was always rather thin."-Reuters

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