Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday expressed his appreciation of the world community for their strong support and valuable aid on the wake of last year's devastating earthquake in southwest China and called for further international cooperation in tackling major natural disasters.
"In face of grave natural disasters, the international community could support each other, enhance cooperation, join hands and jointly tackle the difficulties," Hu told some senior foreign diplomats who were invited to the capital of Sichuan Province on the anniversary of the quake.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (C front) meets with envoys and delegates of some countries and international organizations, who come to attend the activities marking the anniversary of last year's devastating earthquake in the southwestern Sichuan Province, in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, May 11, 2009. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
The magnitude-8.0 quake that hit southwest China, including many parts of Sichuan, on May 12, killed more than 69,000 people, left nearly 18,000 missing, more than 374,000 injured and millions homeless.
Facing the grave disaster, Chinese armed forces and Chinese people worked as one and struggled in unity in rescue work and disaster relief, Hu told those diplomats during the half-hour meeting.
The international community extended their helping hands as governments, groups and individuals from more than 160 countries and some international organizations offered a large number of fund and material assistance via different channels.
Some countries, such as Russia and Japan, sent rescue teams and doctors to help the Chinese people in the quake-hit areas.
Foreign rescuers, in total, offered medical care to more than 10, 000 injured people, found 52 bodies of the victims and took out one survivor from the debris, Chinese official statistics show.
"The assistance from the international community strongly supported China's disaster relief and reconstruction efforts, showcased grand humanitarianism and sincere friendship with the Chinese people," Hu said.
Hu briefed China's reconstruction work to the diplomats, saying it has been carried out in a strong, orderly and effective manner and recorded staged success.
"After one year of hard working, the quake-hit areas witnessed the resumption of and development in their social and economic construction," Hu noted.
The production and living conditions in those areas were improving and the people were working hard to build better lives and new homes, said the head of state.
Hu thanked the international community for their support and aid, saying the money and materials have been used in various fields such as rebuilding of homes, roads, schools, hospitals and other important infrastructure.
China has carried out "vigorous overseeing" and "effectively used" the donation from the international community, Hu told the 30 diplomats, including those from the United States, Russia, Japan, Pakistan and representatives from the UN International Children 's Emergency Fund and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
"We will strive to use the international donation in the places most in need," he said, labeling the cooperation between China and the world as "a good example of international cooperation in disaster relief."
"Chinese government and people will step up exchange and cooperation with the world community, jointly tackle various global challenges and push for a harmonious world featuring long-lasting peace and common prosperity," Hu said.
"We came here to show respect to the patriotism and wisdom of the Chinese people," said Nolana Ta Ama, ambassador of the Republic of Togo and dean of the diplomatic corp to China.
The diplomats were also here to show respect to the mechanism Chinese government established in tackling the quake, he said. "China's efforts and success in fighting against the quake and disaster relief were a contribution to the world."
Ama spoke highly of China's "enormous efforts in saving lives and helping the survivors to resume their lives," pledging that the world community will continue support and help the affected regions.
The diplomats will visit some quake-hit spots near Chengdu on Tuesday.
(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2009)