The Chinese government supports the UN's leading and coordinating role in the setting up of a regional tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Phuket, Thailand, Jan. 29.
In a meeting with his Thai counterpart Surakiat Sathirathai on the sidelines of an international meeting on tsunami warning system, Li expressed the Chinese government's support to Thailand's efforts to host the meeting and the promotion of a regional warning system.
He also said China supports the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be the key player in the proposed regional warning system.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. A number of them, particularly Indonesia and Thailand, have suffered great casualties and property losses in the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster which has so far killed about 280,000 people in total.
For his part, Surakiat spoke highly of Thai-Chinese friendship, expressing gratitude to the Chinese government and people for their valued assistance for Thailand at her hardest time.
China has been playing an important role in disaster relief in Thailand, he noted.
The two ministers also exchanged views on international and regional cooperation on the early warning system.
After his meeting with Surakiat, the Chinese foreign minister toured and inspected the tsunami-hit areas in Phangnga Province where 3,700 people were killed, 5,000 others injured and 2,000 went missing in the Dec. 26 tsunami disaster.
The two-day ministerial conference on regional cooperation on tsunami early warning system has drawn ministers and envoys from 43 countries and regions and representatives from 14 international and regional organizations.