SINGAPORE - President Halimah Yacob, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan have written to their counterparts in Vietnam to offer condolences on behalf of the people of Singapore over the passing of President Tran Dai Quang last Friday (Sept 21) due to a serious illness.
Separately, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean wrote to Mr Quang's spouse, Madam Nguyen Thi Hien, to offer condolences and convey deep sadness.
In her letter to Acting Vietnam President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Madam Halimah wrote that Mr Quang had played a key role in promoting Vietnam's rapid development and in strengthening Vietnam's standing in the region and the world through his many years of public service.
"President Quang also made many invaluable contributions to growing the close relations between Singapore and Vietnam. Please accept my sincere and deepest condolences during this time of sorrow," Madam Halimah wrote to Ms Thinh.
Prime Minister Lee told Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that President Quang played a key role in raising Vietnam's profile on the international stage.
"He encouraged countries to continue to pursue economic integration and trade liberalisation amidst rising protectionist sentiments globally. In particular, President Quang capably and successfully steered Vietnam through its Chairmanship of Apec in 2017," wrote Mr Lee, referring to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) inter-governmental forum.
The Singapore Prime Minister also recalled the warm hospitality that President Quang had accorded him at the Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting in Danang last November.
"With President Quang's support, the strategic partnership between Singapore and Vietnam continues to deepen, and our two countries remain close partners in the region and international fora. President Quang will be greatly missed," wrote Prime Minister Lee.
DPM Teo told Madam Hien that President Quang was highly respected for his numerous contributions to the development of Vietnam and for raising the country's standing in the region and the world.
"He was a true friend of Singapore and a strong supporter of Singapore and Vietnam ties. During our last meeting in Hanoi in September 2016, I recall sharing many ideas on improving our bilateral relations and our two countries partnering each other to address various global and regional challenges," wrote DPM Teo.
DPM Teo wrote that he had the honour and pleasure of meeting President Quang on many occasions over the years and had always enjoyed his discussions with the late Vietnamese leader.
"Most of all, I remember with great fondness my visit to President Quang's hometown of Ninh Binh in 2012 and the warm hospitality he personally extended to me," he wrote.
"I share Vietnam's sorrow at the loss of a great leader. I will miss the camaraderie and friendship I shared with President Quang. Poh Yim's and my thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time of grief and sorrow," wrote DPM Teo, referring to his wife, Madam Chew Poh Yim.
In his letter to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, Dr Balakrishnan said he was very sorry to learn of President Quang's passing.
"President Quang was a well-respected statesman who worked tirelessly to advance Vietnam's relations with various countries and to boost Vietnam's profile on the international stage. His longstanding commitment to public service has also helped better the lives of the Vietnamese people," wrote Dr Balakrishnan.
Dr Balakrishnan said President Quang was a good friend of Singapore and had contributed significantly to the close strategic partnership between Singapore and Vietnam.
"Please accept my heartfelt condolences during this period of national mourning and grief," he wrote.