China will donate 10 million yuan ($1.64 million) in relief materials to help the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan, the state-run Global Times newspaper said, after the government earlier offered $100,000.
The relief goods will include blankets and tents, the Global Times reported today, citing comments by Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. He said the goods would help thousands of people, according to the newspaper.
The announcement of new aid comes after state-run media including the Global Times criticized the government’s decision to donate so little money and said leaders shouldn’t allow strained relations with the Philippines to interfere with disaster relief. The two countries are locked in a dispute over territory in the South China Sea.
The initial donation of $100,000 from China, the world’s second-largest economy, compares with an offer of $20 million from the U.S. and $10 million from Japan, the world’s first and third-largest economies. The U.S. diverted an aircraft carrier to assist with relief efforts, while Japan is also sending 1,000 Self-Defense Force troops. The Chinese Red Cross also donated $100,000.
“China, as a responsible power, should participate in relief operations to assist a disaster-stricken neighboring country, no matter whether it’s friendly or not,” the Global Times said in a Nov. 12 editorial. “China’s international image is of vital importance to its interests.”
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on Nov. 8 and has killed at least 2,357 people, according to the Philippine government. The storm wiped out much of the southern city of Tacloban, from where survivors have sought to flee and resorted to looting amid a growing humanitarian crisis.
Speaking at a briefing on Nov. 12, Qin told reporters that China had expressed sympathy to the Philippines and was also a victim of the storm. Haiyan killed seven people in southern China, Xinhua reported.
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