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Rice arrives in quake-hit China region
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday arrived in Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan Province, and extend condolences for the disaster in the quake-hit region.

Rice first visited the debris of the Tengda sports club in the downtown of Dujiangyan. The three-story building, built in 1980s, was collapsed during the earthquake.

Then she went to a settlement called Qinjianrenjia where 8,000 disaster-affected people lived.

"You have done a good job. You saved a lot of people," she said while she met with a doctor named Jin Weitie there.

Learning the huge casualties and property losses during the earthquake, Rice said "earthquake can be very devastating and destructive as I come from a place always hit by earthquake".

Rice then visited a culture center in the settlement where she watched the Beijing opera and a show named "thankful heart" performed by the children.

She sent a book entitled National Park of America to a 14-year-old boy named Zhou Yifan after having a chat with him in English.

"For the wonderful family and children, you have good spirit. The people of America send the best wishes for complete memory and a happy life," she wrote down the remarks on a commemorating book before she left the settlement.

Rice was the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the area ravaged by an 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12 that killed almost 70, 000 people.

"Rice will express the condolences on behalf of the American people for the disaster," said State Department spokesman Tom Casey before Rice's departure.

During her 4-hour stay in this western province, Rice will travel to Dujiangyan, one of the worst-hit cities in the massive quake. She will visit some temporary housing for survivors and a water purifier donated by Samaritan's Purse, an American non-governmental organization committed to international relief. She is also scheduled to give a press briefing at the end of her tour.

The U.S. government has offered to China's quake area an amount of cash and material worth 2.6 million U.S. dollars, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Her Sichuan visit is part of her two-day China tour which will bring her to Beijing. She is scheduled to discuss with Chinese leaders a wide range of issues, including the Korean nuclear issues.

(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2008)

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