Asian leaders respond to London terror attack
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Asian leaders respond to London terror attack

LEADERS from across the Asia Pacific have extended their condolences for the people of London after a deadly assault left at least five people, including the attacker, dead.

The assailant drove a 4-wheel-drive vehicle into several bystanders near the British Parliament and then proceeded to stab a police officer. Five South Koreans were reportedly injured in the attack – the city’s deadliest since 2005 bombings killed 52 commuters on the city’s transport network.

SEE ALSO: Five South Koreans hurt in British Parliament attack – ministry

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Flowers are laid at the scene after an attack on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain, March 22, 2017. Source: Reuters/Hannah McKay

The British Ambassador in South Korea expressed gratitude for messages of support in light of the attacks.

British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke outside 10 Downing Street where she condemned “the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our capital this afternoon.”

Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, was quick to respond on Wednesday night, expressing the country’s “resolute solidarity” with its long-term ally Britain. He told reporters on Thursday that Australia will step up security in light of the incident. The PM will meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at Parliament later in the day.

“We work very, very closely with our allies, including the United Kingdom and the United States and many other partners around the world,” Turnbull said, “But we must be clear-eyed about the risk. It is real and that is why terror threat level is set at probable.”

Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean highlighted the need to “stay united to counter those who advocate extremism and violence.”

We need to be alert to prevent an attack; ready to respond to keep ourselves and others safe if we are caught up in one;…

Posted by Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Other Commonwealth leaders such as Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak responded first thing on Thursday, as did his New Zealand and Fijian counterparts Bill English and Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.

The Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi offered her “sympathies and condolences for the victims and their families as well as the Government and people of the United Kingdom.”

US President Donald Trump also expressed praise for Theresa May as “strong and doing very well”, in the face of the terrorist attack.

His son, Donald Trump Jr., however, came under fire for criticising London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter shortly after the attack, with UK MP Wes Streeting calling Trump junior “a disgrace.”

Sadiq had gained praise on social media for his level-headed response to the attack.

“I want to reassure all Londoners and all our visitors, not to be alarmed. Our city remains one of the safest in the world. London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life.

“Londoners will never be cowed to terrorism,” he said.

He is London’s first Muslim mayor, and his election in May last year was widely welcomed by leaders in Asia. The Christian governor of Muslim-majority Jakarta, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, then called it a victory for “merit and tolerance.”