Asian politicians are remembering Pope John Paul as a tremendous leader with the power to inspire people around the world.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo - whose country is home to two-thirds of Asia's Catholics - praised the pontiff's "serene courage and indomitable will," and said Filipinos felt a deep sense of loss over his passing.

In China, the official Xinhua news agency says China's state-controlled Catholic church and another Catholic group sent a telegram to the Vatican expressing "grave condolences" over the pope's death. China and the Vatican have no diplomatic ties, and China only allows Catholic Churches that are government-sanctioned and are not loyal to the pope.

In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard told Australian radio the pope was a great moral and religious figure, as well as a very significant political figure. Mr. Howard said the pontiff was an inspirational leader not only to Catholics around the world, but he was a model of the Christian life to all Christians.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark called the pope one of the truly influential figures of the 20th century.

Pope John Paul made at least a dozen trips to Asian nations during his 26-year papacy.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.