In 1955 he abdicated in favor of his father, Norodom Suramarit, but retained the premiership and control of the Popular Socialist Community party, which he had founded. As premier he took Cambodia out of the French Union. After his father's death (1960) he again became head of state, although not king. Initially neutral in foreign affairs, he broke (1965) diplomatic relations with the United States when Cambodians were killed during South Vietnamese and U.S. incursions in the Vietnam War.
In Mar., 1970, Sihanouk was overthrown by a rightist coup led by Lon Nol, who opposed his policy of allowing Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops to use Cambodian territory. He set up a government in exile in Beijing. When the Khmer Rouge won control of Cambodia, Sihanouk returned (1975) as head of state but in 1976 was placed under house arrest. In 1981-82, once again in exile, he forged a coalition with the Khmer Rouge and others to oppose the Cambodian government imposed by the Vietnamese after their 1978 invasion. After a UN-sponsored peace treaty came into effect (1991), Sihanouk returned to Cambodia, now allied with Premier Hun Sen and opposed to the Khmer Rouge. He became head of state (1991) and, under a new constitution, king (1993). He abdicated in 2004 in favor of his son Norodom Sihamoni.
See his memoirs, My War With the CIA (1973); see also J. Lacouture, The Demigods (tr. 1970).
(born Oct. 31, 1922, Phnom Penh, Camb.) Cambodia's king (1941–55 and 1993–2004); he also held other posts. He abdicated in favour of his father in 1955, becoming his father's prime minister; he became head of state on his father's death in 1960. During the Vietnam War he steered a neutral course between the radical right and left in both his foreign and internal policies. Overthrown by Lon Nol in 1970, he campaigned for the Khmer Rouge but was imprisoned after they came to power, and most of his family was killed. Released in the face of a Vietnamese invasion (1979), he denounced both the Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge. In 1982 he became president of a fragile coalition of resistance groups. Following UN-sponsored elections in 1993, Cambodia's National Assembly voted to restore the monarchy, and Sihanouk again became king. He abdicated on Oct. 7, 2004, and his son Norodom Sihamoni, chosen to succeed him, was crowned king on October 29.
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Jia Qinglin Attends the Funeral of Cambodian King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Meets with Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen
Feb 04, 2013; BEIJING, China -- The following information was released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China: On...
Premier Wen Jiabao Mourns the Death of Cambodia's Former King Norodom Sihanouk and Meets with Cambodian Queen Mother Norodom Monineath and King Norodom Sihamoni
Nov 18, 2012; BEIJING, China -- The following information was released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China: On...
Hu Jintao Sends Message of Condolence to King of Cambodia Norodom Sihamoni and Queen-Mother Norodom Monineath on the Passing of Former King Norodom Sihanouk
Oct 15, 2012; BEIJING, China -- The following information was released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China: On...