Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday expressed gratitude to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the organization's help in China's quake relief.
"Our meeting is extraordinary here in Wenchuan County, the epicenter of the 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 12," Wen told Ban.
The UN chief arrived in Chengdu, capital of quake-stricken Sichuan Province, Saturday morning and rushed to Yingxiu town in Wenchuan.
"On behalf of the Chinese people, I thank you for coming to the quake zone and extending your sympathy to the victims," Wen said.
While briefing Ban on China's earthquake relief work, Wen said that the country appreciates the efforts of the international community to offer rescuers, funds and materials to the quake zone.
"All these moves, including the UN emergency relief efforts, showcase all people's friendly feelings for China and their lofty humanitarian spirits," Wen said.
Wen told reporters around that this earthquake is historically rare in terms of its intensity, extension and destruction. Rescuers from all parts of the country have arrived in quake-hit areas as soon as possible and quickly started rescue and relief work, finding and saving more than 60,000 people within a few days.
The research work is ongoing on, but the priority will be shifting to the resettlement of earthquake survivors and reconstruction, Wen said.
Noting that the whole nation is doing its utmost for the relief work, Wen said the Chinese are convinced that they will overcome all difficulties and reconstruct the quake zones.
On behalf of the United Nations, Ban said his heart and sympathy went out to the Chinese people. Ban also complimented the Chinese government on how it had handled the relief and rescue efforts.
The international community is "deeply moved and inspired" by the prompt, well-organized response to the devastating earthquake, Ban said.
The relief work showed that the Chinese people are fearless, forceful and fortitudinous, Ban said, adding that China is a great nation where people are both self-reliant and team-spirited.
The UN chief said he was convinced that the Chinese government and people would prevail against the natural disaster.
Ban said his visit to Wenchuan showed that the international community stands with the Chinese people. Ban pledged that the United Nations will do its utmost to help China with reconstruction.
The premier and the UN secretary-general also held a on-the-spot press conference. Wen urged reporters to record the truth so that the dead can be remembered and the survivors can be consoled.
"Let the world's people remember the devastating earthquake, remember the lost lives, and remember the brave fight of the people in the quake-hit regions and nationwide against the disaster," he said.
The premier said the massive earthquake has claimed more than 60,000 lives in Sichuan Province and other affected regions in the country. In addition, nearly 30,000 people remain missing and nearly 300,000 others are injured.
He also told Ban that China will offer another $10 million in aid to Myanmar, which was battered by a cyclone early this month. China had earlier offered relief supplies valued at 30million yuan ($4.3 million) to Myanmar.
Afterwards, Ban paid a visit to the quake-hit areas and survivors in tents.
Holding hands of Zhang Shiming, who lost his grandson in the quake, Ban encouraged him to be strong. The secretary-general also shook hands with every medical personnel from the No. 261 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army and expressed his respect.
The Chinese people are strong, brave, firm and unflinching, willing to help and cooperate with others. The United Nations and the international community will firmly support them in the fight against this disaster, Ban said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2008)