Somalilandsun: Thoughts of the people and Government of Somaliland are with those of Taiwan at this sad moment.
This message was issued by the Somaliland Ministry of foreign affairs following the passing on of former President of Taiwan, the late Lee Teng-hui.
Former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, who brought direct elections and other democratic changes to the self-governed island despite missile launches and other fierce saber-rattling by China, has died. He was 97.
Taipei Veterans General Hospital said Lee died Thursday evening after suffering from infections, cardiac problems and organ failure since being hospitalized in February
In the message of condolences shared via its official twitter handle @somalilandmfa the foreign ministry wrote “On behalf of the government and the people of #Somaliland, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs extend its heartfelt condolences to the government and people of #Taiwan by the tragic loss of life of President Lee Teng-Hui. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Taiwan”
Lee was known to have defied China’s drive to absorb the island it regards as a wayward province, and worked towards making Taiwan “a country of democracy, freedom, human rights and dignity”, where one does not have to be ruled by others and where everyone can say out loud ‘I’m Taiwanese’,” he told a 2012 election rally.
His greatest act of defiance was becoming Taiwan’s first democratically elected president in March 1996, achieved with a landslide following eight months of intimidating war games and missile tests by China in waters around the island.
The government of Taiwan, formally the Republic of China, was established in 1949 by Chiang Kai-shek, after his Nationalist forces lost control of the mainland to Mao Zedong’s Communists and fled to the island, which lies some 180km across the Taiwan Strait off China’s southeast coast.
Lee became the Nationalist party chairman and Taiwan’s president upon the 1988 death of Chiang’s son, Chiang Ching-kuo.
Eight years after assuming the role, Lee’s push for full democracy culminated with the island’s first direct presidential vote.
The first president born on the island, Lee’s tough language towards mainland China resonated with Taiwan’s 23 million people.
He once described Taiwan-China ties as a “special state-to-state relationship”, infuriating Beijing. He also sought to snap cultural links in favour of a distinct Taiwanese identity.
Lee’s term as democratically elected president ended in 2000.
The prompt messages of condolence extended by the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Hargeisa is a measure of the enhanced diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Somaliland
The two countries are now in full diplomatic relations following signature to a recent pact that saw Taipei and Hargeisa establish direct bilateral communication