May 14th, 2008 06:20 EST
19,000 Dead: Chinese, U.S. presidents talk over phone
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush held a telephone conversation Tuesday, during which they discussed the latest massive earthquake in southwest China, bilateral ties and Tibet.
Bush said the United States expressed deep concerns over the quake in Sichuan province and sympathy toward the Chinese people, and is willing to provide any possible assistance for disaster relief.
Hu extended his thanks to Bush, adding that the Chinese people feel deeply sorrowful about the loss of lives of their compatriots in the strong quake.
The Chinese government is sparing no efforts in disaster relief, rescuing the injured, properly arranging the daily life of the people in the disaster areas so that social order there can be restored as soon as possible, Hu said.
A 7.8-magnitude quake rocked Wenchuan county, 159 km northwest of the Sichuan province's capital of Chengdu, at 2:28 p.m. (0628 GMT) Monday, killing thousands of people in eight affected provinces.
Hu said China-U.S. ties, under the joint efforts of both sides, have moved forward continuously in recent years.
The leaderships of the two countries and officials at other levels have carried out frequent visits, while exchanges and cooperation in various fields have made progress, he added.
Hu expressed hope that the fourth-round China-U.S. strategic economic dialogue next month in Washington will produce positive results.
"I would like to, together with President Bush, make the China-U.S. constructive and cooperative ties develop in a continuous, healthy and steady way," he said,
Hu also outlined China's stance on the Tibet issue. He said the Tibet issue is one of China's internal affairs, and affects the feelings of the Chinese people.
We hope the U.S. side would tackle related issues with an objective and fair-minded attitude and in a cautious and proper way, and understand and support China's justified stance, Hu added.
Hu and Bush also expressed their expectation toward their meetings at the dialogue between G8 and some developing countries in Japan's Hokkaido in July as well as during the Beijing Olympic Games in August.