China to Send Rescue Teams to Philippines

The Associated Press reports that China announced on Sunday that it would send rescue and medical teams to the “hardest hit areas” of the Philippines “should conditions permit,” “a belated offer coming more than a week after a devastating typhoon struck the island nation”:

The proposal made in a statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website follows an extremely modest pledge of less than $2 million in disaster assistance made last week.

The small offering has been attributed to spite over a festering dispute with Manila over South China Sea islands claimed by both sides. China, which has the world’s second largest economy, claims the entire sea and its island groups and has been enraged by Manila’s robust defense of what it says long been Philippine territory.[Source]

Demetri Sevastopulo reports in the Financial Times that the Philippine government expressed appreciation for China’s aid as the death toll continues to rise:

We are promptly referring China’s offer to our senior officials in the department of health for a timely assessment of our current and future medical needs in the affected areas,” said Mr del Rosario. “I would again wish to thank the Chinese government for their humanitarian gesture.”

President Benigno “Noy Noy” Aquino last week downplayed estimates from local officials that the death toll could reach 10,000, saying it was more likely to be closer to 2,500. By Sunday, however, the official death toll had reached 3,681.[Source]