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Former government leaders to attend Lee Kuan Yew's state funeral

2015/03/24 21:37:52

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) Former Vice President Lien Chan and former Premier Hau Pei-tsun will head to Singapore to pay their last respects to late Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at a state funeral set for March 29.

Lien has been invited as a long-time friend of Lee's to attend the ceremony, which is set to be held at the National University of Singapore, according to Ting Yuan-chao, head of Lien's office.

Former Premier Hau Pei-tsun has also been invited to attend the state funeral as a friend of Lee, who was the first prime minister of the city-state and retained his grip on power for over 31 years, a friend of Hau told CNA.

The late prime minister and Hau have known each other for dozens of years, Hau's son and former Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-pin wrote in a Facebook post a day earlier.

Although the two had not met for several years, Lee still sent birthday cards to his father every year, the former mayor and vice chairman of the ruling Kuomintang wrote.

Hau first became acquainted with Lee when Taiwan and Singapore began military exchanges in 1975.

He later met with Lee during a vacation in Singapore in 1990. In their most recent meeting, Hau paid a visit to Lee in Singapore in 2011.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou arrived in the city-state earlier that day to pay his respects to Lee at a family wake, again in the role of "an old friend."

An envoy will represent Ma at the state funeral in the absence of diplomatic ties between the two sides, but the envoy's name has not been announced.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Claudia Liu and Scully Hsiao)
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