Taipei, More than 500 foreign dignitaries from 63 countries and international organizations had sent messages of condolence to Taiwan on the passing of former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), as of Monday evening, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Government leaders and other officials, as well as friends from various organizations and sectors, have expressed sorrow at Lee’s death by issuing diplomatic notes, writing letters, making phone calls and posting messages on social media, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a regular press conference Tuesday.
Many foreign political figures have also visited the memorials set up at Taiwan’s representative offices overseas to pay their respects to Lee, Ou said.
Among them were Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, former Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro and Legislator Kishi Nobuo, the brother of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, who all went to the memorial at Taiwan’s representative office in Tokyo, according to Ou.
In Taipei, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen, British Representative to Taiwan Catherine Nettleton, and other foreign envoys have paid tribute to Lee at a memorial set up for him at Taipei Guest House, according to Facebook posts by their respective offices.
“President Lee played an essential role in Taiwan’s transformation to democratic government,” Christensen wrote in a note left at the memorial, according to the AIT Facebook page. “President Lee will be long remembered for his courage and wisdom.”
In a similar note, Nettleton expressed deep condolences, on behalf of the British people and government, at Lee passing, the British Office Taipei said on its Facebook page.
Lee was a “huge figure in Taiwan’s history and democracy,” Nettleton wrote, according her office’s Facebook page.
Shortly after Lee’s death last Thursday, the White House, U.S. Department of State and U.S. National Security Council also expressed condolences.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Ou said Taiwan wished to thank its friends in the international community for the messages of condolence and will carry forth Lee’s legacy by supporting freedom, human rights and peace throughout the world.
Meanwhile, in Taipei, more than 7,000 people have paid tribute to Lee at the Taipei Guest House memorial since it was set up Saturday, according to a press release from the Presidential Office.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited the memorial Tuesday for the second time, to check on changes that included moving it outdoors and setting up a prayer area, the Presidential Office said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel