Sun, Nov 02, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Chen pays respects to Soong Mayling at New York home

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER , IN NEW YORK

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) paid his respects to the late former first lady Soong Mayling (蔣宋美齡) as soon as he arrived in New York on Friday.

Chen said that it was the first time he had handed out an ROC national flag and official commending order.

Soong, who is also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, died in New York last week.

Chen was accompanied to Soong's residence in Manhattan by Taiwan's representative to the US, Chen Chien-jen (程建人), director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York Andrew Hsia (夏立言) and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) chairwoman Therese Shaheen.

Chen and his entourage were greeted by Chiang Hsiao-kang (蔣孝剛), son of the late general Wego Chiang (蔣緯國).

When Chen entered Soong's ninth floor apartment, he walked toward the memorial area and bowed to pay his tribute. He then and gave the national flag and the commending order to Chiang Hsiao-kang.

Members of the Chiang family, including Kung Ling-yi (孔令儀), Hsu Nai-Chin(徐乃錦) and Chiang Fang Chih-yi (蔣方智怡) were present at the occasion, with Chen shaking hands with all of them.

Chen stayed at Soong's residence for about 25 minutes, before giving a short speech to reporters waiting outside.

Shasheen said that the meeting between Chen and the Chiangs was quite moving, and she did not show any objection to Chen's interview with the media. It showed that the US and Taiwan had reached an agreement, and that the US respected Chen's freedom of speech.

Chen told reporters, "After I landed I immediately came to the residence of our most respected [Soong Mayling.]

"I myself came here on the behalf of the Republic of China government and its people to show the highest respect for our Madame Chiang, and show the deepest grief and consolation for her unfortunate death. May she rest in peace," Chen said.

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