Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday hailed the achievements of the country's international rescue team and urged them to make greater contributions in both domestic and overseas disaster relief missions.
"Giving priority to people's lives, the team has made great contributions to the country and won international acclaim by conducting arduous rescue and relief missions scientifically and bravely," Wen said in written instructions addressing a symposium on the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese International Search and Rescue Team (CISAR).
Since its establishment in 2001, the CISAR has participated in nine international disaster rescue and relief operations to date.
In January 2010, a CISAR team was sent to Haiti, where they helped rescue and treated 6,500 people.
"Practice has proved that the team, with exquisite technology and a hardworking spirit, is one that can be trusted by the Party and the people," Wen said, urging the team to make greater contributions in future missions.
At Tuesday's meeting, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said that the international rescue missions the team conducted showed China's friendliness toward the beneficiary countries and reflected the important role China played in the international humanitarian field.
Hui said the team also demonstrated China's undertaking in building a harmonious world and safeguarding world peace.
"After the earthquakes in Wenchuan and Yushu as well as the mudslide in Zhouqu, the team reacted quickly...and brought hope and courage to people in the disaster-hit areas," Hui said, adding that the team's efforts in these missions were "irreplaceable."
Hui called for strengthening the team in order to further boost its rescue and relief capabilities so as to reduce losses incurred from disasters as much as possible.
Hui said that the team set an example for the country to build up more emergency rescue and relief forces.
Following the 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan earthquake in southwestern Sichuan Province in 2008, the team expanded to 480 members and was outfitted with new equipment and engineering machinery.