A senior Chinese official said Thursday that the mainland welcomes an earthquake rescue team sent by the Red Cross organization of Taiwan to help with relief work in quake-hit Sichuan Province.
Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said his office and the Red Cross Society of the mainland would assist the rescuers from Taiwan in reaching the quake zone at an earliest time possible.
"We understand the concerns of the Taiwan compatriots toward the quake victims," Chen said and thanked them for their generosity and help in the rescue and relief work.
He said that since the quake struck on Monday, people from all walks of life in Taiwan had donated money and materials to the affected people and expressed many times their willingness to send rescuers to the quake areas.
"The moves reflected people's affection across the Taiwan Strait at a time of crisis," Chen said.
The mainland side has also been working hard to rescue the injured and stranded Taiwan tourists and business people since the quake hit, he said.
He expressed grief over the death of two Taiwan compatriots during the disaster, and sent condolences to their families.
At present, the majority of Taiwan tourists were safe, but one tourist group was still out of contact, he said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2008)