Inauguration of President Halimah Yacob

China, US among those who send congratulations


President-elect Halimah Yacob  takes the oath of office at the Istana Presidential Palace on Sept 14, 2017.
President-elect Halimah Yacob takes the oath of office at the Istana Presidential Palace on Sept 14, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

China and the United States are among the foreign governments that congratulated Madam Halimah Yacob yesterday on becoming Singapore's eighth president.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said that China attaches great importance to relations with Singa- pore, an important member of the Asean bloc, said state news agency Xinhua.

It reported Ms Hua as saying that China is ready to work with Singapore to develop the partnership of all-round cooperation in keeping with the times.

The American government, in its congratulatory letter to President Halimah, said the US shares a strong and time-honoured strategic partnership with Singapore.

"We look forward to working together and continuing our cooperation on our shared interests in the region and worldwide," its State Department said in a statement.

President Halimah is Singapore's first woman president and the first Malay president after 47 years.

Noting her achievement, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen congratulated her on becoming Singapore's first woman president, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Ms Tsai also said she was loo- king forward to working with President Halimah to deepen and expand relations between Singapore and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, two community groups in Singapore said that President Halimah was both a symbol of multiracialism and an inspiration to Singaporeans.

Mr Roland Ng, president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he was looking forward to President Halimah unlocking greater economic opportunities abroad for Singapore companies.

"Madam Halimah signifies Singapore's successful multiracialism, which will help to sustain a stable environment conducive for our businesses," he said.

Mr K. Barathan, chief executive of the Singapore Indian Development Association, paid tribute to the President for her 40 years of public service, first with the labour movement, then later as MP, minister of state and Speaker of Parliament. He said she was an "inspiration to every Singaporean".

He added that he was confident she would continue to lead with passion, dedication and vigour.

"Under your leadership, we can foster a stronger and more cohesive nation that can only grow from strength to strength," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2017, with the headline 'China, US among those who send congratulations'. Print Edition | Subscribe