Thu, Nov 06, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan head pays respects to Soong Mayling

CNA , TAIPEI

Control Yuan President Fredrick Chien (錢復) has arrived in New York to attend a memorial service for the late Soong Mayling (蔣宋美齡) on behalf of the government and President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the Presidential Office said yesterday.

Soong, who helped her husband -- the late president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) -- rule China and later Taiwan during years of war, upheaval and Cold War tension, died at her New York home on Oct. 23 at the age of 105.

A memorial service was to be held yesterday at St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan for the former first lady.

The Presidential Office said Chien, who once served as Taiwan's minister of foreign affairs and its representative to the US, will deliver a speech on behalf of Chen at the memorial service.

More than 1,000 dignitaries are expected to attend the memorial service.

Chen, who is currently on his fourth overseas tour since assuming office, paid his last respects to Soong at her Manhattan home on Friday immediately after his arrival in New York on a two-day transit stop on his way to Panama for an official visit.

Chen presented Chiang's bereaved family with a posthumous citation in recognition of her contributions to the ROC.

The Chiangs were once one of the most famous couples in the world -- a dashing general married to a beautiful, urbane woman. Time magazine publisher Henry Luce named them the "Man and Woman of the Year" in 1938. Chiang died on April 5, 1975.

Soong's body has been interred at the Ferncliff Cemetery on the outskirts of New York, where it will lie until she can be buried with her husband, whose body lies at a mausoleum in Tzuhu, northern Taiwan.

Before he died in 1975, the late president said he wanted to be buried in China.

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