China’s government, often at odds with Tokyo, offered support to Japan after Friday’s powerful earthquake, with Premier Wen Jiabao expressing “deep sympathy and solicitude to the Japanese government and the people” and telling his counterpart, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, that China is willing to offer whatever aid is necessary.
Chen Jianmin, director of the China Earthquake Administration, said its International Rescue Team has put its members, equipment, materials and medicines in place and ready to depart for Japan, after the 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the Japanese coast, triggering a major tsunami and leaving dozens dead and displaced tens of thousands of people. “We are highly concerned about the earthquake in Japan and its consequences such as fires and building damages,” the state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Mr. Chen as saying.
China is dealing with the aftermath of its own deadly earthquake, a 5.8-magnitude quake that struck its southwestern Yunnan province on Thursday, killing at least 25 people, injured 250, and destroyed some 18,000 houses. China and Japan are closely linked economically, but their ties are often buffeted by lingering anger in China over Japan’s brutal occupation during World War II. The initial public reaction to Japan’s earthquake—the country’s worst in at least 300 years–was mixed, with postings on Sina Weibo, the most active of China’s Twitter-like microblogging services, including expressions of sympathy mixed with some nationalistic gloating.