King Norodrom Sihanouk, who negotiated Cambodia's independence in 1953, wanted to build up the country. He called for a modernization of agriculture, made advances in transportation and irrigation infrastructure, and improved the education and health sector. The population idolized him like a god-king. Sihanouk wanted to turn Cambodia into a Buddhist, non-aligned society. In the growing conflicts between the world powers, he saw neutrality as Cambodia's only way. A neutrality that the major powers will learn to use to their own purpose.