Foreign leaders send condolences to China over gas well burst

A number of foreign leaders and senior officials have sent letters of condolence to their Chinese counterparts over the gas well burst in the Chongqing Municipality in southwest China, which has caused at least 191 deaths.

Fidel Castro Ruz, First Secretary of Cuban Communist Party and President of the Cuban State Council and Council of Ministers, sent a message to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

In the message, Castro, in the name of Cuban Communist Party, the Cuban government and people, expressed the deepest sympathy and solicitude for the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese people, government and relatives of the victims.

Castro also said Cuba was willing to render necessary personnelor material support for China in case of immediate need.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sent condolence letters respectively to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

In the message to President Hu, Koizumi offered deep sympathy and expressed belief that the Chinese people will overcome the present difficulty under the command of the Chinese leadership.

Koizumi said in his message to Premier Wen that the event wouldbe handled properly under instructions from the Chinese leadership,and people's lives in the affected region would return to normal in the shortest possible time.

Japanese Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko and House of Representatives Speaker Kono Yohei also sent condolence letters toChinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai sent a letter to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, expressing deep sympathy to relatives of the victims. The prime minister said the Chinese people could overcome the difficulty and return to normal life under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the government.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Phan Van Khai also sent a letter tohis Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing , expressing deep sympathy torelatives of victims.

President of Uzbekistan Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov's letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed deep sympathy for relatives of the victims on behalf of people of Uzbekistan.

A gas well burst Tuesday night in Kaixian County, 337 kilometers northeast of Chongqing, killing at least 191 people. The accident also released a high concentration of natural gas andsulfureted hydrogen,

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent their instructions on Thursday to local governments, urging relevant departments to go all out to rescue victims, prevent poisonous gasfrom spreading further and reduce casualties.

Rescue workers and emergency equipment stood by as local policetold reporters and others they were to be denied access to the scene from 7:00 a.m. Friday.

About 600 soldiers, armed police and fire fighters were mobilized to search for survivors in the areas near the gas field.

People's Daily Online ---