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US Congressmen offer condolences to China over quake
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More than 40 members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday expressed condolences to the families of the victims of a devastating earthquake in China, saying that the U.S. Congress stands ready to help in any way possible.

"We write to express our condolences to the families of the victims of Monday's earthquake in Sichuan province," representatives Mark Kirk and Rick Larsen, co-chairmen of U.S.-China Working Group in the House, and their 45 colleagues said in a signed letter to Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong.

"We are particularly saddened by the number of students and children affected by this tragedy. The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the Chinese people, especially those directly affected by this tragedy," said the letter which was obtained by Xinhua on Friday.

"The United States Congress stands ready to help in any way possible. Upon request, the United States Agency for International Development is ready to deploy search-and-rescue and disaster assistance response teams to the earthquake site," it added.

"At this difficult time, we stand with the Chinese people and assure them our full support," the letter said.

The letter is the latest of a series of condolences expressed by U.S. Congressmen since the 7.8-magnitude quake struck China's Sichuan province on Monday, leaving at least 20,000 people dead.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, issued a statement shortly after the earthquake on Monday, expressing her condolences to the Chinese people and the families of the victims.

"On behalf of all of my colleagues in the House of Representatives, I offer my deepest condolences to the Chinese people and all those who lost loved ones in the powerful earthquake that struck China's Sichuan Province," Pelosi said.

"I hope it is some comfort to all of those affected by this terrible tragedy that so many throughout the world are thinking of them and praying for them at this difficult time," she said.

"When catastrophes such as these strike, rescue operations need strong support as they go about their missions of saving lives and delivering hope to where it is desperately needed. The international community must respond immediately and vigorously to this most recent natural disaster in Asia," she said.

Meanwhile, Xinhua learned that David Wu, Democrat representative from Oregon, and Barbara Boxer, Democrat senator from California, have sponsored a draft resolution to mourn the victims of the quake and express condolences to the Chinese people.

(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2008)

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