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'Leader of great vision': World leaders react to killing of former PM Shinzo Abe

'Leader of great vision': World leaders react to killing of former PM Shinzo Abe

Staff members applaud to bid Shinzo Abe goodbye when he left his official residence in Tokyo on Sep 16, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files)

United States President Joe Biden expressed outrage at the fatal shooting of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on Friday (Jul 8), calling him a champion of the US-Japan alliance who cared deeply about the Japanese people and democracy.

"I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning. This is a tragedy for Japan and for all who knew him," Biden said in a statement.

"Even at the moment he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mourned the former prime minister as a visionary leader who boosted relations between the two allies.

Meeting his Japanese and South Korean counterparts jointly at a G20 meeting in Bali, Blinken called Abe "a leader with great vision" who "brought the relationship between our countries, the United States and Japan, to new heights".

Japan's longest-serving leader died on Friday after being shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.

Abe, who sought to lift the economy out of chronic deflation with his bold "Abenomics" policies, beef up the military and counter China's growing clout, died at 67.

Here are some reactions from around the world:

CHINA

The Chinese embassy in Japan expressed condolences over the death of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday in a shooting attack.

"Former Prime Minister Abe made contributions towards improving China-Japan relations during his term. We express our condolences on his death and send our sympathies to his family," an embassy spokesman said on the embassy website.

ITALY

"Italy is shocked by this terrible attack, which hits Japan and free democratic debate. Abe was a great protagonist of Japanese and international political life in recent decades, thanks to his innovative spirit and his reforming vision. Italy sends its condolences to his family, to the government and to the entire Japanese people," said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

TAIWAN

"Not only has the international community lost an important leader, but Taiwan has also lost an important and close friend. Taiwan and Japan are both democratic countries with the rule of law, and our government severely condemns violent and illegal acts," Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen said in a statement released by her office.

SOUTH KOREA

"I send my condolences to the bereaved families and Japanese people who have lost the longest-serving prime minister and respected politician in Japan's constitutional history," South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol was quoted as saying in a statement delivered by the presidential office.

Yoon added that the shooting was "an unforgivable act of crime".

POLAND

"I am deeply shocked by the news of the assassination of @AbeShinzo," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Twitter. "My thoughts are with the family of our Japanese friend who was always very kind to Poland. May he Rest In Peace."

UNITED KINGDOM

Britain's Queen Elizabeth said she was “deeply saddened” by the death of the former prime minister.

"My family and I were deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden and tragic death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," said the 96-year-old monarch, who added she had fond memories of meeting Abe and his wife during their 2016 visit to Britain.

"I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and to the people of Japan at this difficult time."

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter: "Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe."

"His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people."

"The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time."

AUSTRALIA

"The tragic death of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is devastating news ... Mr Abe was one of Australia’s closest friends on the world stage ... Under his leadership Japan emerged as one of Australia’s most like-minded partners in Asia - a legacy that endures today," said Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

"Mr Abe was a leader in the Indo-Pacific, championing a vision of a free and open region. The Quad and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership are in many ways the results of his diplomatic leadership.

"Mr Abe was also a giant on the world stage - a leader in the G7, the G20 and the United Nations. His legacy was one of global impact, and a profound and positive one for Australia."

GERMANY

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he was "stunned and deeply saddened" by news that former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe died on Friday, hours after he was shot while campaigning for a parliamentary election.

"We stand closely by Japan's side even in these difficult hours," Scholz tweeted, expressing his deepest sympathy to Abe's family.

FRANCE

France expressed its full solidarity with Japan after the killing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY 

"Deeply saddened by the tragic death of Japanese Former Prime Minister @AbeShinzo. I was honoured to meet him and work with him on important issues for Japan. My condolences to his family, may he rest in peace," tweeted IAEA chief Rafael Grossi.

RUSSIA

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the death an "irreplaceable loss".

In a telegram to Abe's family, Putin called Abe an "outstanding statesman" who had done a lot to develop "good neighbourly ties between our countries".

INDIA

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a day of national mourning would be held in honour of Abe.

"I am shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe," Modi wrote on Twitter.

"We stand in solidarity with our Japanese brothers and sisters in this difficult moment."

UKRAINE

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy extended his condolences to Abe's family.

"Horrible news of a brutal assassination of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. I am extending my deepest condolences to his family and the people of Japan at this difficult time. This heinous act of violence has no excuse," he tweeted.

EUROPEAN UNION

"The brutal and cowardly murder" of Abe "shocks the world", European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

"I will never understand the brutal killing of this great man," said European Council President Charles Michel in a separate Tweet.

THE NETHERLANDS

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte termed the attack "cowardly" and said his thoughts were with Abe's loved ones and the Japanese people.

"At today's Cabinet meeting we paused to reflect on this dark day for Japanese democracy. I have fond memories of our friendship and the work we did together," he said.

Source: Agencies/ng
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