FM sends regards to China's disaster relief personnel in Haiti

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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi extended solicitude to all Chinese personnel in Haiti on disaster relief and peacekeeping missions in a phone conversation on Monday.

Speaking with Wang Shuping, Chinese business representative in Haiti, Yang said the powerful earthquake in Haiti has caused severe casualties, including the deaths of eight Chinese police officers.

He said President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao as well as other senior leaders are greatly concerned about the safety and security of all Chinese personnel in Haiti and issued instructions to save the officers buried under the rubbles.

The minister praised the Chinese personnel for projecting a favorable international image of China by braving great heat, aftershocks and other untold difficulties and hardship.

He expressed the hope that they will make persistent and arduous efforts in disaster relief operation and return home safe and sound.

The caskets bearing the remains of the eight Chinese police officers were flown back to Beijing Monday. Four of the victims were part of the 9,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, and the rest were in a delegation from China's Ministry of Public Security.

When the 7.3-magnitude quake struck Haiti, the eight officers were meeting with Hedi Annabi, head of the UN mission, at the mission's headquarters. Chinese rescuers retrieved the officers and Annabi's bodies from underneath the debris last weekend.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday that 46 UN personnel have so far been confirmed dead and more than 500 remain missing or unaccounted for. It is feared that the death toll from the devastating quake would top 100,000.

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