Chinese Premier expresses condolences to quake-hit Japan

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met the press

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed condolences and solicitudes to quake-hit Japan on Monday and said China is willing to offer more help when needed.

"I would like to express my deep condolences to victims in this unprecedented earthquake and extend sincere solicitudes to all the Japanese people," Wen said at a press conference in Beijing. [More about Premier Wen's press conference]

"China is also an earthquake-prone country, so we understand the hardship that Japan experiences now," he said.

Chinese rescuers and relief materials arrived in Japan on Sunday and China is willing to offer more necessary help when needed, Wen said.

He mentioned that the Japanese government sent rescuers and relief materials to China after the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in May 2008, which left some 87,000 people dead or missing.

On Friday, a few hours after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in Japan, Wen expressed "deep sympathy and solicitude to the Japanese government and the people" via a message to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

A 15-member Chinese rescue team started search and rescue operations Monday morning in Ofunato city of Japan's northeastern Iwate Prefecture, according to the website of the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo.


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