SINGAPORE: Singapore leaders have expressed their condolences following the death of Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang, who died on Friday (Sep 21) aged 61 after a serious illness.
President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean wrote letters of condolence on the passing of the Vietnamese leader.
In her letter to Acting Vietnam President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Mdm Halimah expressed her "deepest condolences" on behalf of Singaporeans and highlighted Mr Quang's "key role" in promoting Vietnam's rapid development and global standing.
Writing to Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Mr Lee said that Mr Quang had encouraged countries to "continue to pursue economic integration and trade liberalisation" amid rising protectionist sentiments globally.
"In particular, President Quang capably and successfully steered Vietnam through its chairmanship of APEC in 2017," he said. "I also recall the warm hospitality President Quang had accorded to me at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Danang last November."
"With President Quang’s support, the strategic partnership between Singapore and Vietnam continues to deepen, and our two countries remain close partners in the region and international fora," he added. "President Quang will be greatly missed."
Calling Mr Quang a "true friend of Singapore", Mr Teo wrote in his letter to Mr Quang's wife, Madam Nguyen Thi Hien, that he had met Mr Quang on many occasions and remembered "with great fondness" his visit to the late president's hometown.
"I share Vietnam’s sorrow at the loss of a great leader," he said. "I will miss the camaraderie and friendship I shared with President Quang."
Meanwhile, Dr Balakrishnan wrote to Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh to offer his condolences, highlighting how the former leader's "longstanding commitment to public service" had helped to "better the lives of the Vietnamese people".