BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday extended condolences to their respective South Korean counterparts over a ferry accident, which has left a significant number of people dead or missing.
"I have learned with profound sorrow of the severe accident of your country's passenger ship 'Sewol', which has left a significant number of people dead or missing, including many young students in particular, " Xi said in a message to South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Xi, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in his own name, mourned the dead and sent condolences to those injured and to the bereaved families.
He said that he pays great attention to this accident and that China is willing to provide support and assistance to South Korea.
"The Chinese people and the South Korean people enjoy profound friendship," Xi said.
Premier Li also sent a message of condolences on Thursday to his South Korean counterpart, Chung Hong-won, over the tragedy.
"Sewol" carrying 475 people, mostly high-school students, capsized off South Korea's southwest coast Wednesday, leaving at least nine people dead and 287 others missing.