New Zealand stands ready to provide help to China after a devastating earthquake, Prime Minister John Key says.
Key today expressed condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the 6.6 magnitude earthquake, which hit the Sichuan province in southwest China yesterday.
More than 160 people are reported to have lost their lives and thousands are injured.
"On behalf of the New Zealand Government and the people of New Zealand, I would like to send a message of sympathy and support to China, and to Premier Li Keqiang, who is leading the search and rescue and relief effort in Sichuan," Key said.
"I met with Premier Li in Beijing just over a week ago and we discussed cooperation on disaster relief and humanitarian matters."
New Zealanders understood "all too well" the devastation of earthquakes.
"We were hugely grateful for China's support following the Christchurch earthquake and New Zealand helped respond to the 2008 Sichuan quake.
"While China has not requested international assistance, New Zealand once again stands ready to provide technical support if required."
There were no reports of foreign nationals being injured in the earthquake but the New Zealand Embassy in Japan was monitoring the situation closely.
New Zealanders with concerns about family or friends should attempt to make contact with them directly in the first instance.
If they require further assistance they should call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Consular Division on 04 439 8000 and ask to speak to a Consular Adviser.
- The Press
Which memorial design do you like most?Related story: Christchurch earthquake memorial designs unveiled