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A journey to study in China

A journey to study in China


ACCORDING to King Norodom Sihanouk's official biographer, Julio A Jeldres,

Prince Norodom Naradipo was born in Phnom Penh on February 10, 1946, to His

Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk and Princess Sisowath Monikessan, a daughter of

King Monivong.

Chinese Premier Chou En Lai, left, with Princes Noreakthipo, (Naradipo) second from right, and Khemanoreak, right, at a banquet in their honour in Beijing in 1960

Jeldres said the prince was educated in Phnom Penh and at

Peking University under the personal supervision of former Chinese Premier Chou

En-lai.

Upon his return to Cambodia the prince, with his fluency in

Chinese, became the editor of the government's Chinese newspaper.

Then,

said Jeldres, Prince Naradipo was "proclaimed the successor" of King Sihanouk on

November 17, 1963, given his attributes of being "serious, straightforward,

dedicated and loved by the people."

According to the King's biographer,

the prince was arrested by the Lon Nol regime after the coup against King

Sihanouk in 1970 and he left for exile in China in 1973. The prince returned to

Cambodia with his father in late 1975, but Jeldres said he disappeared in 1976

and is "presumed dead".

He said the King had lost contact with Prince

Naradipo and other children in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime.

"His Majesty the King has told me that while under house arrest, he

wrote several letters to the Khmer Rouge leadership asking them to allow his

children to come and visit him but he never got any answer from the Khmer

Rouge," Jeldres wrote in a fax from Bangkok on September 22.

According to

Jeldres, children of King Sihanouk who were killed by the Khmer Rouge included

Prince Norodom Khemanourak, Princess Norodom Botum Bopha, Princess Norodom Sorya

Reoungsy, and Princess Norodom Sujata.

From left: the Princes Youvaneath, about 17, Noreakthipo (Naradipo), 14, and Khemanoreak, 11, sons of Norodom Sihanouk, at Pochentong early in 1960 before flying to Beijing to study..

Other relatives of the King who

were killed were: Prince Sisowath Monireth, brother of Queen Kossamak; Prince

Norodom Phurissara, cousin of King Sihanouk and former Foreign Minister; Neak

Moneang Man Manivan, former wife of the King and mother of Princesses Norodom

Arunrasmy and Norodom Sujata; and Prince Sisowath Doussady, husband of Princess

Botum Bopha.

However, Jeldres said the list was not complete and he hoped

to publish soon a list of all the members of the Royal Family who disappeared

during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror.

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