Foreign dignitaries in Taiwan yesterday expressed their condolences over the 48 passengers and crew killed in a fatal air crash in Penghu County on Wednesday night that injured 10 others, with some observing a moment of silence in tribute to the victims.
“Representatives to Taiwan from 19 countries in the Asia-Pacific region yesterday observed a one-minute silence for the deceased while they were at a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Elliot Charng (常以立), director-general of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
The meeting was called for Charng to brief representatives from the countries, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, on an upcoming Asia-Pacific Culture Day, an annual event organized by the ministry.
American Institute in Taiwan director Christopher Marut offered the US’ heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives and to those injured in the disaster.
“The people of the United States join the people of Taiwan in grieving the lives lost in this incident,” Marut said in a press release.
In a statement posted on the Web site of the British Trade and Cultural Office, the UK’s representative office in Taiwan said that it was deeply saddened to learn of the crash.
“We offer our sincere condolences to all the people of Taiwan and particularly to the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives in this terrible accident. Our thoughts are with them in their grief at this sad time. We also pay tribute to the rapid response of Taiwan’s emergency services,” the UK’s representative office said.
Meanwhile, the Straits Exchange Foundation yesterday said that it has turned down an offer from China to help with the aftermath of the incident for the moment.
“China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits [ARATS] has relayed condolences and sympathy from Chinese President Xi Jinpin (習近平) and his relatives to Taiwanese victims, and said that they would like to give full assistance to Taiwan,” the foundation said.
The offer provided by ARATS was greatly appreciated, the foundation said, but it has informed the association that as rescue efforts conducted by Taiwanese authorities have been monumental, there is no need to accept its assistance at this time.
Meanwhile, according to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis has sent a telegram of condolences to the families of victims of the air disaster.
“The Holy Father learned with sadness of the air accident near Magong Airport and he asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the assurance of his prayers for all affected by this tragedy. Upon all he invokes God’s blessings of consolation, strength and peace,” Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Piero Parolin said in a telegram to Archbishop of Taipei John Hung Shan-chuan.
The European External Action Service, the EU’s diplomatic service, said in a statement: “We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the TransAsia Airways airplane crash on Penghu Island off the coast of Taiwan. We share the grief of all those who have lost loved ones and express our sympathies to those who have been injured.”
Japan’s representative to Taiwan Mikio Numata yesterday also sent letters of condolence.
Numata said in a letter to Taiwan’s Association of East Asian Relations chairman Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) that he was deeply saddened to learn of the crash and expressed the hope that those affected by the crash could return to their normal lives soon.
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