| The leader of many countries around the world are expressing their condolences over a tragic ferry accident in South Korea that left nearly 300 people dead or missing.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday, local time, expressed condolences to the missing and their families twice Thursday, pledging to provide every assistance requested by Seoul. The White House issued a condolence statement signed by him on Thursday morning. During a news conference on his health insurance reform in the afternoon, Obama made an opening speech to express his condolences once again. "Our hearts ache to see our Korean friends going through such a terrible loss, especially the loss of so many young students," Said Obama, who has two teenage daughters.
In the opening remarks, Obama expressed "on behalf of the American people our deepest condolences to the Republic of Korea and the families of all those who`ve seen their loved one last." He added, "American Navy personnel and Marines have already been on the scene helping with search and rescue꾿s I will underscore on my visit to Seoul next week, America`s commitment to our ally South Korea is unwavering - in good times and in bad."
In the morning statement, Obama said, "Our hearts ache to see our Korean friends going through such a terrible loss, especially the loss of so many young students. As the Korean people deal with this heartbreaking tragedy, they will have the unending support and friendship of the United States."
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and the U.S. State Department`s deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf also told news briefings that they were praying for the victims` families and that the United States was ready to provide any assistance needed in the ongoing search-and-rescue efforts.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang sent their condolence messages Thursday to South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Chung Hon-won, respectively. "I learned with shock and profound sorrow of the unfortunate and severe accident of passenger ship `Sewol`, which has caused a significant number of people injured, killed or missing, including many young students in particular. I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, the deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathy to the families of the victims, the missing and the injured ones," the Chinese president said in the message. "The Chinese and (South Korean) people boast profound friendship. I personally pay great care to this accident and China is always ready to provide anytime the necessary support and assistance to (South Korea)."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also issued a statement Thursday, saying, "I send my deepest condolences to the government and people of South Korea following the Sewol ferry disaster. My thoughts are with all the bereaved families and their relatives and friends, and those people still waiting for news of their loved ones. The British government is ready to offer any assistance we can to the Korean government at this tragic time." Many British citizens laid flowers in front of the South Korean embassy in London to express their condolences over the disaster.