President Nicolas Sarkozy told his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao that France is standing by China's side after a massive earthquake struck the southwest of the country killing nearly 10,000 people.
"I would like to let you know that I am deeply moved and would like to assure you of France's support for the Chinese people in this difficult moment," Sarkozy said in a letter made available to AFP late on Monday.
"You can also count on my personal support," the French president added.
Sarkozy said he was constantly informed of developments in the area and hoping that the "scale of the disaster will be as limited as possible".
"I trust that China will be able to cope with this disaster," he added.
The quake, with a magnitude of 7.8, struck close to densely populated areas of Sichuan shortly before 2:30 pm (1200 IST) on Monday.
It is the worst to hit China since the 1976 earthquake in the city of Tangshan near Beijing, which left 242,000 people dead, Xinhua said.
However, the death toll could rise dramatically as rescuers are yet to reach areas near the epicenter at the city of Wenchuan, state media reports said.