Asia joined the rest of the world in mourning the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch.
The queen, who died peacefully at age 96 on Thursday afternoon, met with many Asian leaders and heads of state throughout her seven-decade reign.
Upon her death, she received tributes from leaders in the region, where she has remained a respected figure since the start of her reign in 1952.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to praise the queen as “a stalwart of our times.”
“She provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people. She personified dignity and decency in public life,” Modi wrote.
The Indian government also announced that it has designated September 11 as the day of State Mourning throughout the country. The Indian National Flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings where the flag is regularly flown.
Hong Kong, a British colony from 1841 to 1997, mourned the queen’s death, with many visiting the British consulate to pay their respects.
In a statement, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the queen was “greatly respected, admired and praised by the British people.”
During her reign, the queen visited Hong Kong twice, first in 1975, and then in 1986.
Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo also used social media to call Elizabeth II a “widely admired and beloved queen.”
“My deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family, the government, and the people of the UK,” he tweeted.
The queen visited Indonesia in 1974 and met then-President Suharto. In 2012, she welcomed Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at Buckingham Palace during a state visit.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also took to Twitter to say the queen’s death was “truly an irreparable loss to the Commonwealth and the world.”
Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Queen Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah also released a joint statement praising the queen’s “dedication to the people and the government of the UK as well as for her deep concern for the welfare and well-being of the people.”
Elizabeth visited Malaysia three times: during a special visit in 1972, the 11th Commonwealth heads of government meeting in 1989 and the 16th Commonwealth Games in 1998.
Anucha Burapachaisri, Thailand’s deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, paid respects to the queen, who she says has been a “highly respected figure of the international community.”
In honor of Elizabeth’s passing, Thailand will lower its flags for three days starting Friday.
In 1972, the queen visited Thailand and met with King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
In a Facebook post, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the queen as “the very heart and soul of the UK.”
“She performed her duties with devotion, grace, and humility,” Lee wrote. “Her contributions to the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and indeed to the world will be recorded in history, and she will always be remembered fondly as a great world leader.”
In Singapore, state flags will fly at half-mast on the day of the queen’s funeral, and parliament will observe a minute of silence on Monday.
It was during the early years of Elizabeth’s reign in 1963 when Singapore declared its independence from British colonial rule. Her last visit to Asia was in Singapore back in 2006 when she met President S.R. Nathan and the city-state’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol released a statement hailing the monarch for her “strong belief in the cause of human freedom.”
The queen visited South Korea in 1999 and met with President Kim Dae-jung.
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed “deep condolences” in a statement that noted the queen’s passing is “a great loss to the British people.”
In 1986, Elizabeth II became the first British head of state to visit China when she met Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and toured six cities.
Speaking to reporters, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida acknowledged the queen’s “great contribution” towards stronger ties between Japan and the U.K.
“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing,” Kishida was quoted as saying. “The government of Japan expresses its heartfelt condolences to the British royal family, the British government and the British people.”
The Japanese flocked to the British Embassy in Tokyo to lay flowers and pay their respects to the queen. Among the first Asian leaders that the queen met was Japan’s Emperor Hirohito in 1975.
Condolences also poured in from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and other parts of Asia.
Featured Image via History