Former Singaporean prime minister Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) yesterday ended a visit to Taiwan, having met President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to express his friendship with Taiwan, as well as the friendship between the Singaporean and Taiwanese governments.
Taiwan’s Representative to Singapore Vanessa Shih (史亞平) said Lee’s incognito visit was primarily the result of his regard for Ma’s cross-strait policies and her office’s hard work in building trust between the two countries.
Lee said last year that Beijing did not express displeasure at Singaporean officials visiting Taiwan, which he attributed to warming ties across the Taiwan Strait.
“I think the obstacle [visiting Taiwan] has been cleared,” he said.
In a statement, the Presidential Office said Lee had praised Ma’s policy of “no unification, no independence and no use of force” in the Taiwan Strait, saying it benefitted both sides and was supported by other countries in the region.
Lee also praised Ma for bringing Taiwan out of the global financial crisis so quickly.
The Presidential Office’s statement said Ma had thanked Lee for the “crucial role” played by Singapore in regional economic integration, ongoing negotiations on an economic partnership agreement and for providing the location for talks between former Straits Exchange Foundation chairman Koo Chen-fu (辜振甫) and former Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait chairman Wang Daohan (汪道涵) in 1993, the first official talks between Taiwan and China since 1949.
Lee arrived in Taiwan on Monday accompanied by his daughter Lee Wei Ling (李瑋玲) and he left yesterday.