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Britain Expresses Condolences over Deadly Earthquake in China

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband expressed his condolences Monday night over the heavy loss of life in the strong earthquake that hit China's southwestern province of Sichuan earlier in the day.

"The huge earthquake in China's Sichuan Province is a further and tragic shock to a region already trying to handle the devastation in Burma," Miliband said in an official statement posted on the Foreign Office's website.

"Emerging news of the loss of life and devastation in China is deeply saddening," he said, adding that Britain would be ready to provide assistance.

"My thoughts are with the Chinese people and those families who have suffered loss. The Chinese government is to be commended for their quick and efficient response," the foreign secretary said.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, rocked southwest China Monday afternoon.

By 7:00 AM on Tuesday (2300 GMT Monday), the death toll from the quake had climbed to over 9,200, according to China's Ministry of Civil Affairs. Nearly 9,000 of those killed were in Sichuan.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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