Lee Kuan Yew's death means loss of close ROC friend: premier

03/23/2015 01:33 PM

Taipei, March 23 (CNA) The death of Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew has cost international society the loss of a wise man and the loss of a close friend of the Republic of China, Taiwan's Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said Monday.

"The ROC government and its people will always remember Lee Kuan Yew's contributions to the promotion of Taiwan-Singapore relations and the peace between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait," Mao said in a statement released by the Executive Yuan earlier in the day, several hours after an announcement of Lee's passing by the Prime Minister's Office of Singapore.

"Lee passed away peacefully at the Singapore General Hospital today at 3.18 a.m. He was 91," the office said.

The Executive Yuan statement said Mao was shocked and deeply grieved upon learning of Lee's death. He has asked Taiwan's Representative to Singapore Hsieh Fa-dah (謝發達) to deliver a letter to Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to convey his deep grief and condolences, the statement said.

In the statement, the Executive Yuan said that since Singapore was established in 1965, Lee had played the key role in the promotion of Taiwan-Singapore links and spared no efforts in pushing for interaction between Taiwan and China.

Lee was instrumental in helping implement the first talks between Taiwan's Koo Chen-fu and China's Wang Daohan -- the top negotiators from the two sides at that time -- in Singapore in March 1993.

It was these "Koo-Wang talks" that started the on-going and peaceful dialogue and stable exchanges between the two sides of the strait, the statement said.

In addition to being the founding prime minister of Singapore, Lee was also a world leader with great vision, the Executive Yuan said, praising the statesman for setting a good example for his own country.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Elizabeth Hsu)ENDITEM/J

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