China makes belated aid offer to Philippines

China makes belated aid offer to Philippines
A man painting an SOS message on a basketball court at Anibong in Tacloban on Monday. Super Typhoon Haiyan has affected more than four million people. The US, Britain, Germany, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia are sending emergency relief aid.

A day after foreign governments began rushing emergency relief aid to typhoon victims in the Philippines came China's belated offer of assistance.

In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which has affected more than four million people and may have killed 10,000, the United States is sending relief aid, military personnel and equipment; Britain is offering an emergency support package worth US$9.6 million (S$12 million); and Germany is flying in 23 tonnes of aid. Taiwan has offered US$200,000 in relief assistance.

Among Asean members, the Singapore Government is donating $200,000 while Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has told government agencies to send aid and a quick-response disaster relief team.

Asean secretary-general Le Luong Minh on Monday said the grouping is working closely with the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management to ensure an "effective response".

China, which on Saturday sent its condolences through its embassy in Manila, announced its aid offer on Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular briefing that the government and the China Red Cross would donate US$100,000 each and that China would be monitoring the situation and working with international groups to see what else it can do.

Last month, China pledged to ramp up cooperation with South-east Asia in wide-ranging areas including disaster relief when President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang visited the region.

Analysts cite various reasons for China's slower response.

Dr Xu Liping, an Asean researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said bilateral tensions arising from the two countries' South China Sea dispute is a key factor.

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