In messages sent on Sunday to the presidents of Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Maldives, the king of Thailand and Malaysia's supreme head of state, President Hu Jintao offered condolences to victims of Sunday's killer earthquake and tsunami on behalf of the Chinese government and people.
Hu said he believed governments and peoples of these countries can overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homelands.
The president also ordered the Foreign Ministry to gather information on Chinese citizens affected by the tidal waves and offer assistance to them.
An undersea earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale was registered west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that devastated parts of south and Southeast Asia.
More than 40 Chinese relief personnel are standing by to head for earthquake- and tsunami-stricken Indonesia, according to Huang Jianfa, an official with the State Seismological Bureau.
China announced on Sunday evening that it will offer emergency humanitarian aid to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand. The Ministry of Commerce has launched its emergency aid mechanism and is preparing to deliver the aid.
An evaluation team from the United Nations leaves for the stricken areas on Monday to investigate and gather data for relief work.
(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2004)