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President pays last respects to Lee Kuan Yew at family wake

President pays last respects to Lee Kuan Yew at family wake

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (???) visited Singapore Tuesday to pay his last respects at a family wake to Lee Kuan Yew (???), the founding father of the city state who died early the previous day. Ma was invited as "an old friend" to attend the family wake for Lee, according to an unnamed source, who added that the president would return to Taiwan later in the day. It was Ma's first trip to Singapore since he became president in May 2008. He last visited the country in June 2007 while running as a candidate in the 2008 presidential election. Ma and his small entourage departed for Singapore on a China Airlines charter, arriving at around 4:25 p.m. Ma later went to Istana, the official residence of Singapore's president, to pay his respects to Lee. In related news, Foreign Minister David Lin (???) visited Singapore's representative office in Taipei that same day to express condolences over the death of Lee on behalf of the Republic of China, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Accompanied by Singapore's representative to Taiwan Calvin Eu (???), Lin also signed a condolence book at the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei. Although Lee's death means the ROC has lost a close friend, Lin said, he believed ties between the two countries will continue to advance with mutual efforts. Taiwan will continue to strengthen cooperation with Singapore, based on the strong foundation laid by Lee and ROC leaders, the ministry said. Lee's state funeral has been scheduled for March 29, and the Foreign Ministry said it is finalizing details of a special envoy who will be sent to pay respects to Lee on behalf of Ma, who is unlikely to attend because of the lack of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the city state. "We will make a public announcement at an appropriate time," deputy ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (???) told reporters. Lee Kuan Yew , who died early the previous day at the age of 91, visited Taiwan 25 times during his lifetime and developed close relationships with many political leaders there, especially with the late President Chiang Ching-kuo (???). He ruled Singapore with an iron grip for three decades until 1990 and is credited with building Singapore into a global business and financial hub with a low level of corruption. Under his rule, Singapore enjoyed economic prosperity, but it also remains an autocratic country with restrictions on freedom of speech. (By Elaine Hou and Huang Tzu-chiang)


Updated : 2021-09-19 03:30 GMT+08:00