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Japan, EU, U.K. express condolences over Kaohsiung deadly blasts
【Society】2014-08-01  21:27:19
Taipei, Aug. 1 (CNA) Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union have expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the deadly gas explosions that ripped through a neighborhood in Taiwan's southern port city of Kaohsiung Thursday night.

Japan's representative to Taiwan Mikio Numata sent letters of condolence Friday to President Ma Ying-jeou, Foreign Minister David Lin and Lee Chia-chin, chairman of the Association of East Asian Relations, according to Japan's Interchange Association.

The Interchange Association represents Japan's interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties, and its Taiwanese counterpart is the Association of East Asian Relations.

In the letter to Lee, Numata said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of the blasts in Kaohsiung that killed many people, including firefighters, and offered his deepest sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives, the Interchange Association said.

He also expressed hope that those affected by the explosions will return to their normal lives soon, the association added.

The European Economic and Trade Office in Taipei, also on behalf of the European Union, expressed its sincere condolences to the victims and their families for the series of deadly explosions, the office said in a Facebook post.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Kaohsiung and we wish prompt recovery to the injured," the post read.

Meanwhile, the Taipei-based British Trade and Cultural Office, which represents U.K.'s interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties, said in a statement Friday that it was saddened to learn of the gas explosions that caused a heavy loss of life and many injuries.

"We pay tribute to the courage of the emergency services who are dealing with this crisis," it said. "Our thoughts are with all the families and friends of those who have lost their lives, and with the injured."

A series of gas explosions began in Kaohsiung late Thursday, causing 26 deaths and leaving some 280 people injured, according to the latest statistics.

A government task force has been set up to find out the cause of the explosions as soon as possible, said Premier Jiang Yi-huah, who went to inspect the scene of the blasts in Kaohsiung earlier Friday.

(By Elaine Hou and Wang Shu-fen)
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