Park will attend state funeral for Lee Kuan Yew

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Park will attend state funeral for Lee Kuan Yew

President Park Geun-hye will fly to Singapore to attend the state funeral for Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, said presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook on Monday.

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on March 29 at the National University of Singapore.

Park issued a statement earlier Monday to express her condolences on the death of Lee.

“I cannot hide my grief over the news of the passing of former Prime Minister Lee,” Park said in her statement. “I express my deepest condolences to his surviving family including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the people of Singapore.”

The Singaporean Prime Minister’s office said the late prime minister died peacefully Monday morning. He was 91.

Lee became the first prime minister of Singapore in 1959 when it won self-government from the British. After a failed merger with Malaysia that ended in 1965, he was prime minister of an independent Singapore until 1990.

Describing the late statesman as “the founding father of modern Singapore” who led the country for 31 years, President Park praised his leadership, insight for the future and his transformation of a tropical port city into a global financial and logistics hub. She said Lee’s accomplishments and sacrifices were respected by the leaders of many countries including Korea.

“The late statesman built a special tie with Korea by his numerous visits,” the statement said, calling him a friend of the Korean people who provided valuable wisdom for Korea-Singapore relations.

Lee visited Korea four times, and his first trip in October 1979 took place when the country was ruled by Park’s late father, Park Chung Hee. During a dinner at the Blue House on Oct. 19, Park Geun-hye assisted her father and provided translation for the two leaders.

One week after the dinner at the Blue House, on Oct. 26, 1979, Park Chung Hee was assassinated.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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