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Australian envoy expresses condolences after blasts

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Australia expressed condolences to Taiwan yesterday for the victims of a series of explosions that tore through the southern city of Kaohsiung late last week.

Kevin Magee, representative of the Australian Office Taipei, said in a statement that he had sent letters to President Ma Ying-jeou and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu to offer condolences on behalf of the people of Australia.

Magee said it is his earnest hope that the people of Kaohsiung will overcome the difficulties they face and return to normal as soon as possible.

The series of underground gas explosions ripped through an area of Kaohsiung just before midnight July 31, killing 30 people and injuring more than 300. An investigation into the blasts is ongoing.

Magee also mentioned the July 23 TransAsia plane crash in outlying Penghu County that left 48 of the 58 people aboard dead.

“It is all the worse that (the explosions) should come so soon after the plane crash in Penghu which so affected the people of Taiwan,” he said. “We wish them comfort in this time of sadness.”

Earlier, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union also offered condolences over the disaster.

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