The world has lost an important leader and Taiwan has lost a friend, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday after former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe died hours after he was shot while giving an election campaign speech.
“Not only has the international community lost an important leader, but Taiwan has also lost an important and close friend. Taiwan and Japan are both democratic countries with the rule of law, and our government severely condemns violent and illegal acts,” Tsai said in a statement released by the Presidential Office.
Abe had spared no effort to deepen Taiwan-Japan relations and had been instrumental in convincing the Japanese government to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) quoted Tsai as saying.
Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times
Tsai has instructed Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) to pay condolences to Abe’s family on behalf of the government, Chang said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has instructed the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan to issue formal condolences to the Japanese government on behalf of Taiwan.
Abe has been a great friend of Taiwan and spoke out for the nation on multiple occasions, such as urging other countries to adjust policies of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, instead saying that they would come to the nation’s defense, the ministry said.
Hsieh said that he and Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) only last week visited Abe to deliver an invitation to visit Taiwan later this month.
Hsieh said Abe had agreed to a visit. “I cannot believe that was my last meeting with him,” he added.
Abe’s passing was similar to a close family member passing away, Hsieh added.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) also extended condolences to Abe’s family and strongly condemned violence, saying that acts contravening the basic principles of a democratic society and rule of law are unacceptable.
The KMT regrets that Japan has lost a capable leader and politician, it said in a statement, adding that it is saddened Taiwan has lost a good friend.
“Abe is forever Taiwan’s good friend,” KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said in a separate short video.
The New Power Party expressed condolences and said that Abe’s policies were friendly toward the US and Taiwan, while being decisively critical of China and North Korea.
Abe’s actions contributed to Japanese society becoming increasingly Taiwan-friendly, it said.
The Taiwan People’s Party offered condolences to Japan, calling Abe “Taiwan’s old friend.”
His passing will hopefully not affect Taiwan-Japan relations, it said, urging the two countries to continue maintaining a strong friendship.
Additional reporting by Reuters, Yang Cheng-yu and Wang Chien-hao
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