BEIJING, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday sent a message of condolences to top Lao leader Choummaly Sayasone to express condolences over the deaths of Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit and other senior officials in a plane crash.
A military aircraft carrying several high-ranking Lao officials crashed in Laos' northeastern province of Xieng Khouang Saturday morning, killing 16 people. Only one person survived.
The high-ranking Lao officials confirmed dead in the mishap include Douangchay Phichit, Minister of Public Security Thongbanh Sengaphone, Secretariat of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party's Central Committee and Head of the Propaganda Training Committee Cheuang Sombounkhanh, and Mayor of Vientiane Soukanh Mahalath.
In the message to Choummaly Sayasone, general secretary of the ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) and Lao president, Xi, in the capacity of the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission of China, said that the four comrades including Douangchay Phichit killed in the mishap were important leaders of Laos, who had made important contributions to the Lao cause of innovation and opening up, and who had actively promoted China-Lao friendship and cooperation.
The accidental deaths of them is a serious loss not only to the cause of construction of both the LPRP and Laos, but also to the cause of China-Laos friendship, Xi said.
On behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, government and people, Xi expressed profound condolences over the deaths of those killed in the accident, and also offered sincere sympathies to their relatives.