Japan Quake: China Sets Aside Disputes, Offers Help

The Chinese government is putting aside tensions between China and Japan over the past year in order to offer assistance and condolences in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan:

When news of the disaster spread Friday, Chinese leaders were quick to offer condolences and support. China is also earthquake-prone – a deadly 5.8-magnitude tremor just hit southwestern Yunnan province Thursday – and officials here immediately put a trained rescue team in place to dispatch to Japan if needed.

The Chinese defense minister, Liang Guanglie, called his Japanese counterpart, Toshimi Kitazawa, to offer military assets. The Red Cross Society of China pledged 1 million yuan, or about $152,087, to help Japan. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao also had a telephone conversation Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and offered China’s condolences and help.

China’s rapid show of sympathy and solidarity toward an Asian neighbor in distress stands in sharp contrast to the heated rhetoric of the past half-year, which saw noisy anti-Japanese demonstrations in some cities and the canceling of some ministry-level exchanges and tour groups.

After the earthquake, officially sanctioned editorials – which are regularly used to whip up anti-Japanese sentiment – were instead talking about shared pain and what China can learn from Japan’s rapid and orderly response to the disaster.

See also a Forbes report: “China Sends Rescue Workers to Quake Ravaged Japan-Xinhua


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