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Taiwan mourns death of Nelson Mandela
Central News Agency
2013-12-06 10:42 AM
Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) Republic of China Foreign Minister David Lin paid tribute Friday to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died a day earlier at the age of 95. Lin said the ROC government mourned the death of Mandela, known as the father of South Africa and a driving force for freedom, justice, human rights and reconciliation.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao said President Ma Ying-jeou also paid tribute to the charismatic South African leader's life and legacy and extended his condolences on Mandela's passing. South African President Jacob Zuma announced earlier in the day the death of Mandela, a revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century. Mandela visited Taiwan in 1993 in his capacity as chairman of the African National Congress. Then-ROC President Lee Teng-hui granted him the Order of Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon, the highest ROC honor awarded to a foreign national, in recognition of his lifelong pursuit of freedom, democracy and justice. In his acceptance speech, Mandela expressed his admiration for ROC founding father Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People that aimed to make the country a free and prosperous democracy. He also lauded Taiwan's efforts to promote human rights and social justice.

Relations between the ROC and South Africa date back to 1894 when the Qing dynasty government at the time set up a consulate-general in Johannesburg. The bilateral relationship was upgraded to full-fledged diplomatic ties in 1976. Mandela announced in November 1996 in his capacity as South African president that diplomatic relations with the ROC would be terminated at the end of 1997 but that his country would maintain constructive ties with Taiwan. The ROC now maintains a representative office in the South African capital of Pretoria and a liaison office in Capetown. South Africa also has a representative office in Taipei. (By Angela Tsai and Sofia Wu)

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