Former president S R Nathan left important legacies in Singapore's relations with China and other countries that should continue to be upheld, China's Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said.
Mr Liu said the older generation of leaders, particularly former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as founding father of Singapore and pioneer of Sino-Singapore ties, contributed to the development of relations between the two countries.
"Mr Nathan is part of the same generation that left behind important legacies in Sino-Singapore friendship and also in Singapore's relations with others," Mr Liu told Singapore reporters yesterday after signing the condolence book at the Singapore Embassy in Beijing.
"It's not just Singaporeans who should uphold their legacies. The youth in China and the current generation of leaders should also continue to draw lessons from them."
Responding to a question on how current leaders in Singapore and China could build on the work of their predecessors, Mr Liu said the older generation had relied on oriental and traditional philosophies and ideals to view modern- day relations.
"Times may have changed, but Asians should still use Asian ideals, spirit, principles to handle relations among Asian countries," he added.
Mr Liu also described Mr Nathan's death as a loss for Singapore and for Asian countries.
"He spent his life fighting for Singapore's independence, development and prosperity. He worked hard for Singapore for over 60 years and we will remember him dearly."
Mr Liu added: "We hope Sino- Singapore relations will continue to achieve new and better developments through mutual effort and by building on existing foundations."
Chinese President Xi Jinping had on Wednesday sent his deepest condolences in a message to Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
Kor Kian Beng