Chinese Official Promotes Rescue Efforts in Haiti
Stephanie Ho | Beijing 19 January 2010
China says its rescue crews in Haiti have helped many people suffering in the aftermath of last week's earthquake, not just Chinese people.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu says accusations that Chinese rescue crews in Haiti only helped Chinese people are "false and out of ulterior motives."
Ma says Chinese rescuers left for Haiti at the first opportunity and found the bodies of eight Chinese who were serving with the United Nations peacekeeping mission there.
He says at the same time, Chinese doctors set up a medical station in Haiti and have treated more than 200 people.
He was responding to news reports that the Chinese team was only interested in rescuing Chinese nationals.
Chinese aid workers are still in Haiti, and Ma says it is hard to say when they will return home.
Ma says how long the rescuers will stay in Haiti will be decided by how the situation develops.
Chinese media reports say the rescue team arrived in Port-au-Prince last Thursday, and has enough supplies to sustain its work in Haiti for 15 days.
The Chinese government is sending to Haiti an aid package worth nearly $4.5 million, including tents, stretchers, food, medicine, clothing and water purification equipment.
Beijing and Port-au-Prince do not have diplomatic relations.
Taiwan, which does have formal ties with Haiti, also has been active in relief efforts and to date has given $5 million. There are reports that Taiwan President Ma Yingjeou may go to the Caribbean island to deliver aid.
On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman responded to reports about Taiwan's efforts by saying Beijing firmly sticks to its one-China policy, "under any circumstances."
Although Taiwan is separately governed, China considers the island a renegade province and a part of its territory.
Ma says China hopes that Beijing and Taipei can enhance contact and cooperation, to "jointly uphold the humanitarian spirit." But he says to his knowledge the two sides have not had any contact over Haiti relief efforts.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|