Chinese team: rescue efforts in Haiti know no national boundaries

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Huang Jianfa, leader of the Chinese international rescue team, said Tuesday that his team's rescue efforts in quake-hit Haiti have surpassed national boundaries.

"The principle of our work is to mobilize limited resources in the shortest possible time to carry out rescue operations in the most needed areas," Huang said during an interview with Xinhua.

"The rescue efforts of the Chinese team know no national boundaries," Huang stressed, adding that in the past week, the Chinese team had found 15 bodies, including those of seven foreign victims.

Earlier Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected accusations that its rescue team in Haiti searched only for Chinese nationals.

"The comment that the Chinese rescue team was only searching for Chinese nationals in Haiti is false and made out of ulterior motives," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular briefing in Beijing.

The Chinese rescue team started their operation in Haiti on Jan. 14, only some 36 hours after the quake, at the ruins of the headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.

"We chose to start rescue work at the MINUSTAH building because of its special identity," said Huang.

Hedi Annabi, chief of the UN mission in Haiti, and Luiz Da Costa, deputy special representative of the UN secretary-general to Haiti, had been buried in the rubbles of the building, said Huang. "We had information about their exact locations."

Their bodies were found by Chinese rescuers last Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived at the spot on Sunday, spoke highly of the Chinese team's performance.

On behalf of the United Nations and the international community, Ban expressed his gratitude to the Chinese rescue team, who rushed to Haiti at the earliest time possible after the quake.

"Thank you very much! Thank you!" Ban told Xu Zhizhong, the deputy leader of the Chinese team.

Besides the bodies of eight Chinese peacekeeping police officers and the two senior UN officials, the Chinese team found other five bodies of UN staff members there.

Chinese rescuers have also launched operations in the most ravaged areas in the Haitian capital to search for any signs of survivors.

Huang said the Chinese team would continue to engage in frontline rescue work in the following days to help more people of Haiti and the world.

"This is the duty of China as a responsible big country toward the people of the world," he said.

"We will collect limited resources to continue the search for survivors in Haiti," said the Chinese rescue team leader.

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