BEIJING, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul by phone Friday on a deadly coal mine explosion in western Turkey and relations between the two countries.
Gul expressed heartfelt thanks for a message of condolences sent by Xi on Wednesday over the disaster, which took place in a privately owned mine in the western Turkish province of Manisa during a shift changeover on Tuesday. The death toll reached 284 on Friday, making it the country's worst industrial disaster.
He briefed Xi on progress in the rescue efforts, voicing his regret he could not visit China and attend the Shanghai summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) as scheduled due to the accident.
Xi again expressed his sorrow over the dead and extended deep condolences to their families and the injured.
The Chinese president said he believed the Turkish government was capable of properly dealing with the disaster, adding China was willing to provide emergency aid at any time if required.
He also expressed understanding of Gul's cancelation of his China trip, saying China looked forward to welcoming the Turkish president at a time convenient for both sides.
China would take over the CICA presidency from Turkey next week, he said, voicing his belief that, with concerted efforts from all parties concerned, the upcoming summit in Shanghai would build closer coordination and cooperation within the CICA and contribute to peace and development in Asia.
Noting that China attached great importance to its relations with Turkey at an overall and strategic level, Xi said he was willing to maintain frequent contacts with Gul and jointly push forward bilateral ties.
Gul said Turkey would actively support China's hosting of the CICA summit in Shanghai and wished it a complete success.
Turkey was ready to strengthen cooperation with China through the CICA, to promote security and stability in Asia, he said.
Death toll rises to 284 in Turkey's mine disaster
SOMA, Turkey, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Friday the death toll in the country's biggest mine disaster has reached 284 after another body of miner was found.
Up to 18 miners were still thought to be trapped in the Soma mine, said Yildiz, adding that the final death toll in the mine explosion could be around 300. Full story