Tue, Oct 28, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Bush, Yu offer condolences on Chiang

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

US President George W. Bush yesterday sent condolences to Soong Mayling's (宋美齡) family, praising the former first lady for her "intelligence" and "strength of character," and calling her a close friend of the US.

Bush's message came four days after the 105-year-old Soong, also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, died in her New York home.

His statement said that he and his wife "were saddened to learn of the death of Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Madame Chiang was a close friend of the United States throughout her life and especially during the defining struggles of the last century."

"Generations of Americans will always remember and respect her intelligence and strength of character," he said.

Meanwhile, Premier Yu Shyi-kun paid his respects to Soong yesterday at a temporary memorial set up at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei.

Yu bowed three times to a picture of Soong.

He said he was paying homage to the late first lady on behalf of the Executive Yuan. He also extended his condolences to her family.

In related news, a task force was formed yesterday by "pan-blue" parties and the National Women's League of the Republic of China to handle Soong's funeral arrangements. The league was founded by Soong in 1950 in Taipei.

Chang Che-chen (張哲琛), the director of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) Administration and Management Committee, said that the task force is chaired by KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰).

People First Party (PFP) Chair-man James Soong (宋楚瑜), New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) and league vice chairwoman Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲) are deputy chairpersons.

The task force met yesterday at the KMT's headquarters and decided to send a delegation to New York to attend Soong's memorial service and to hold of symposium in her memory, Chang said.

"Further details on related funeral arrangements will be decided in consultation with Madame Chiang's family," Chang said.

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