China

China Foreign Ministry Spokesman's press conference 25 Feb 2003

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Q: Can you introduce the latest information of the earthquake in Xinjiang?

A: People throughout China are deeply concerned over those in earthquake stricken areas. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council has sent a disaster relief team, the State Bureau of Seismology sent an expert team and the Ministry of Civil Affairs allocated 8 million RMB in disaster relief fund. When the earthquake took place, Party Secretary and Governor of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region were in Beijing for meeting and they went back overnight to organize relief work. A great number of relief is been prepared including 6000 tents and 1500 quilts that already sent to the region. Some countries have proposed to provide some disaster relief fund and materials, to which we have expressed our thanks. Secretary General Anna has also expressed condolence. I would like to take this chance to thank the governments and friends of those countries for their care. We believe that the Chinese Government will exercise its utmost and do a good job in disaster relief.

Q: On the earthquake in Xinjiang, you mentioned just now that several countries expressed their willingness to provide assistance to China. Do you think such assistance needed? It is reported now that over 260 died and 4000 injured. Will the final casualty further increase?

A: People nationwide are concerned with the situation in the disaster stricken areas and there have been donations and help. Some big cities have already begun to send materials to the areas to support them to go through the difficulties. According to what I know, the civil affairs departments in China have not appealed to the international community and we thank sincerely those countries that offered help to us.

Jiashi and Bachu are located in the areas frequently hit by earthquake and several after shocks occurred after yesterday's earthquake. Deputy head of the State Bureau of Seismology is already on site and he said that forecast of earthquake is a difficult question worldwide. Since the two counties are remote, there is certain difficulty in figuring the casualty at once. But anyhow, the Central Government and the local governments will exercise their utmost to find and rescue those injured. I can only introduce to you what I know but you may ask the Ministry of Civil Affairs for details.