China offers condolences for 'great friend' Sihanouk
BEIJING (AFP) - China's Vice President Xi Jinping expressed sadness at the death of former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing on Monday, paying tribute to an "old friend of the Chinese people", the foreign ministry said.
"I was shocked to learn that His Majesty King Sihanouk died of an illness in Beijing early this morning", Mr Xi told Sihanouk's wife Queen Monique in Beijing, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website.
"We are deeply shocked and grief-stricken," Mr Xi said, adding that he expressed "deep condolences and sincere sympathy," to the Cambodian people on behalf of China's government and people, the statement said.
Mr Xi stood in silence before a portrait of the deceased monarch, and lauded Prince Sihanouk as an "old friend of the Chinese people" who made an "indelible contribution to the development of friendly relations between China and Cambodia".