Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday extended her condolences to the family of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who died at the age of 94 in Houston.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said Tsai could not help but feel very sad in the wake of the death of the former U.S. president and was reluctant to say goodbye to the longtime friend of Taiwan.
The death was confirmed by family spokesman Jim McGrath, who said Bush died shortly after 10 p.m. Friday.
Bush was the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993. After leaving office in January 1993, Bush and his wife Barbara Bush visited Taiwan for three days in December.
His wife died about eight months ago at the age of 92.
Huang said Tsai had high regard for Bush's efforts during his term as U.S. president in pushing for the end of the Cold War and facilitating world peace.
She also expressed her gratitude for Bush's support for Taiwan and said that what he did for people in Taiwan will be remembered forever, the spokesman said.
According to Huang, Tsai asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey her condolences and those of the Taiwanese people to Bush's family shortly after hearing the news.
Several lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), meanwhile, also praised Bush's efforts in promoting democracy and his friendly attitude toward Taiwan.
KMT Policy Committee director Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) said Bush's friendliness toward Taiwan included the sale of 150 F-16 fighter jets worth US$6 billion to Taiwan to strengthen Taiwan's national defense. It was the largest single arms deal ever between Washington and Taipei.
Under Bush's leadership, the U.S. formed an international coalition that included more than 400,000 U.S. troops to drive invading Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1990, which meant a lot to the international community, Chiang said.
Bush's son, George W. Bush, served as the 43rd U.S. president, and DPP legislative caucus secretary-general Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said the Bush family had made great contributions to U.S. democracy, and the two Bushes devoted themselves to the welfare of the American people during their tenures.