China's president has sent a message of sympathy to the United States, following the devastating terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Taiwan's leader denounced Tuesday's violence. And both governments tightened security around U.S. facilities.
Large pictures of the collapsing World Trade Towers appeared prominently on the front page of China's official press, along with a straightforward and detailed account of the attack that leveled these symbols of U.S. economic strength. "Big news! Huge news! Thousands dead!" Says this man selling newspapers.
Another front page story details a midnight message of "deep sympathy" from China's President Jiang Zemin to President Bush and the American people. Chinese officials have increased security around U.S. diplomatic buildings. "Many ordinary Chinese said it was wrong for terrorists to attack innocent Americans," said a chinese man on the street. But others, like this man, said "America's military action against other countries and arrogance in dealing with other nations may have sparked the attacks".
Meantime, President Jiang said he was worried about the staff of Chinese businesses and institutions that had offices in the wrecked towers.
Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian "gravely condemned the violence" and ordered stronger security for U.S. businesses and institutions on the island, as well as more vigilance at airports and other key installations.
Former U.S. president, Bill Clinton, canceled a planned trip to Taiwan, and airliners flying from China or Taiwan to the U.S. were rerouted or ordered to return home as American authorities closed U.S. airspace for the first time in U.S. history.
The attacks began apparently when small groups of knife-wielding terrorists seized four civilian airliners Tuesday morning and crashed three of them into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon.