Taiwan to send three-person delegation to Abe state funeral in Japan

The state funeral will take place on Sept 27. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI - Taiwan will send a three-person delegation to attend the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this month, including a former parliament speaker and a former premier, the island's presidential office said on Thursday.

Abe, the longest-serving leader in modern Japan, was fatally shot at close range during a campaign rally on July 8.

Taiwan Vice-President William Lai attended Abe's private funeral less than a week later in a personal capacity as a friend of his, though the trip still drew a diplomatic complaint from Beijing, which views the island as its own territory.

Taiwan's presidential office said the delegation will consist of former parliament speaker Wang Jin-pyng, former premier Frank Hsieh who is now the de facto ambassador to Japan, and Su Jia-chyuan, who heads a body in charge of relations with Tokyo in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

The three have had a "deep friendship and close interaction" with Abe for many years, and their attendance fully demonstrates the firm friendship between Taiwan and Japan, office spokesman Xavier Chang said in a statement.

The state funeral will take place on Sept 27.

Abe was a popular figure in Taiwan for his support of the island, although Japan, like most countries, has formal diplomatic relations with Beijing, not Taipei. REUTERS

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.