Wed, May 14, 2008 - Page 4 News List

World powers offer sympathy, aid

AFP , HONG KONG

World powers rallied around China with sympathy and pledges of help after Monday's earthquake.

"The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the Chinese people, especially those directly affected. The United States stands ready to help in any way possible," US President George W. Bush said in a statement. "I extend my condolences to those injured and to the families of the victims of [Monday's] earthquake in China's Sichuan Province. I am particularly saddened by the number of students and children affected by this tragedy."

Bush's sentiments were echoed by China's neighbors, with close ally Pakistan expressing shock at the disaster.

"I am deeply shocked and grieved at the loss of precious lives of our Chinese brethren and damage to property caused by the severe earthquake that hit China," Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said in a message to his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao (?⊿?瞈?. "At this difficult time, we stand by the great Chinese people and assure them of our full support and solidarity."

Japan said its rescue teams were on standby, but expected that Beijing preferred to handle the disaster on its own.

"We want to provide whatever we can as our neighbor has suffered huge damage," Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told reporters. "But we still have to see what the requests are."

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak told his Cabinet to seek ways to help, while Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also extended sympathy.

"I have written to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao [皞怠振撖跑 this morning, expressing this and offering Australian assistance including the search and rescue capability of the states and territories of Australia," Rudd said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also offered support.

"I would like to let you know that I am deeply moved and would like to assure you of France's support for the Chinese people in this difficult moment," Sarkozy said in a letter to Hu.

The EU expressed sympathy over the massive loss of life.

"We share the grief of all those who have lost loved ones and express our heartfelt sympathies to those who have been injured and suffered heavy material losses in this catastrophe," EU head Slovenia said in a statement.

New Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent a telegram to Hu.

"I ask you to pass condolences to the friends and family of the perished and wishes for a speedy recovery to all those who suffered," he said. "We are ready to help relieve the consequences of this emergency if needed."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also offered condolences, and Canada said it was ready to send help.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said he was saddened by the disaster.

"On behalf of the government and the people of Kenya and on my own behalf, I send this message of condolence and encouragement to the government and the people of China following the tragic loss of lives as a result of the earthquake," Kibaki said in a statement.

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