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Chinese Mainland Expresses Sympathy to Quake-hit Taiwan Compatriots

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The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office Sunday expressed condolence over losses of lives and property following a 6.7-magnitude earthquake that struck waters off Hualien in eastern Taiwan island at 21:02 (Beijing time) Saturday.

The spokesperson of the office said the strong earthquake caused losses of lives and property, and "we are deeply concerned and extend our sincere sympathy."

"Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are attached to each other like brothers," said the spokesperson, "If Taiwan needs any help, we are ready to provide all necessary assistance to Taiwan compatriots affected by the disaster."

The quake's epicenter was located at 23.8 degrees north latitude and 121.7 degrees east longitude with a depth of 30 kilometers.

According to Taiwan media reports, it has been the strongest earthquake in Taiwan this year, and has caused losses of lives and property.

Taiwan meteorological department estimated that aftershock measuring above 5 on the Richter scale would occur in the coming weeks.

In another development, Zheng Lizhong, executive vice president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), expressed condolence over quake victims Sunday in Taiwan's Taichung.

Zheng arrived in the island Friday to prepare for the talks between ARATS and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) slated for December 22.

(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2009)

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