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Xi reaches out after nations suffer losses

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-28 09:00
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Relatives of submarine crew members throw flowers and petals into the sea off Bali, Indonesia, during prayers for them on Monday. Indonesia's military said on Sunday that all 53 crew members from the navy submarine that sank and broke apart last week are dead, and that search teams had located the vessel's wreckage on the ocean floor. FIKRI YUSUF/REUTERS

Condolences sent to Indonesia, Iraq over navy submarine sinking and hospital fire

President Xi Jinping on Tuesday sent a message of condolence to Indonesian President Joko Widodo over the recent sinking of an Indonesian navy submarine.

In his message, Xi said he was saddened to learn that the navy submarine had sunk at sea, leaving many crew members aboard dead.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people as well as in his own name, Xi offered his deep condolences over the victims and expressed sincere sympathy to the bereaved families.

The Indonesian military confirmed on Sunday afternoon that the KRI Nanggala-402 submarine, which went missing on April 21, had been found on the sea floor off the island of Bali, and that the vessel had been broken into three parts.

The diesel-powered submarine had been in service in Indonesia since 1981 and was carrying 53 crew members when it sank during a drill.

Widodo on Monday expressed condolences to the families of the crew members aboard the German-built submarine.

In an address to the nation, he also said that the government would pay for the education of the children of the crew members.

Grieving relatives gathered on the seashore in Bali on Monday to pay their respects to the sailors who perished, and urged the authorities to retrieve their bodies from the depths.

Experts say it will be a daunting task to lift the submarine to the surface from the deep water, requiring specialized salvage equipment, Reuters reported.

Also on Tuesday, President Xi sent a letter of sympathy to Iraqi President Barham Salih over a deadly hospital fire.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi offered in the message his deep condolences over the victims and expressed sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured.

Xinhua quoted a statement from the Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights as saying that the death toll in the hospital fire on Saturday night might reach 130, including unidentified badly charred bodies.

According to the IHCHR team, the fire was caused by an explosion of an oxygen cylinder in the Ibn al-Khatib Hospital dedicated to treating coronavirus patients in the east of the capital Baghdad, the statement added.

The hospital fire prompted Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to suspend Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi and launch an investigation into the deadly incident.

The fire happened as Iraq is grappling with a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Daily cases now average around 8,000, the highest level since Iraq began recording infection rates last year.

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