Cambodia's new king, Norodom Sihamoni, said in his first message to his kingdom Friday that he would stay out of politics, and asked for guidance and understanding while he learns his new role.

The 51-year-old monarch said in a statement that he would follow the example of his father, King Norodom Sihanouk, and fully respect Cambodia's constitution, which states that "the king reigns but does not rule."

King Sihamoni said he would be neutral with all politicians and serve only in religious, diplomatic, social and humanitarian areas. He told his subjects that he worried and feared he could not fulfill the job well, because he lacks experience.

He asked the nation's top leaders, including Prime Minister Hun Sen and his half-brother, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, to help guide him.

Cambodia's throne council announced Thursday that Norodom Sihamoni would succeed his ailing father, who announced his abdication one week ago. Both men are currently in Beijing.