Late Taiwan premier a deeply respected leader: PM Lee

Mr Hau Pei-tsun was a decorated general who held several high-ranking posts in Taiwan's armed forces and politics.
Mr Hau Pei-tsun was a decorated general who held several high-ranking posts in Taiwan's armed forces and politics.

TAIPEI • Former Taiwan premier Hau Pei-tsun has died at the age of 100 due to multiple organ failure.

Mr Hau's son, former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin, 67, said in a statement that the family will not be holding any funeral services for the late retired general anytime soon because of the coronavirus outbreak, but a service might be scheduled in future.

The former premier, who died on Monday, was a decorated general who held a number of high-ranking posts in both Taiwan's armed forces and politics.

Yesterday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in a Facebook post, extended his condolences to the Taiwanese people on Mr Hau's passing. He described the former premier as a "deeply respected leader" who "made many contributions to the security and well-being of Taiwan and to cross-strait relations", as well as to ties between Taiwan and Singapore.

PM Lee and Mr Hau first met in 1974 and had kept up a steady correspondence throughout the years.

According to PM Lee, Mr Hau was close friends with his father, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and had attended the late Mr Lee's funeral in 2015.

"Mr Hau lived a long and full life. He will be remembered as a dear friend of Singapore," said Mr Lee.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence, Mr Hau's military career began even before the Kuomintang administration moved to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War.

He fought in the Chinese forces during World War II and later helped Taiwan launch its first indigenous military systems programme.

Aside from his three-year term as premier during the Kuomintang rule in the early 1990s and a year as defence minister before that, Mr Hau was also the longest-serving chief of the general staff of Taiwan's armed forces, holding the position from 1981 to 1989.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2020, with the headline 'Late Taiwan premier a deeply respected leader: PM Lee'. Print Edition | Subscribe