World View: China Snubs Philippines on Humanitarian Aid, Backtracks

This morning's key headlines from

  • USS George Washington brings first significant aid to the Philippines
  • China snubs Philippines on humanitarian aid, then backs down
  • France and Eurozone economy falter, while Greece approaches new bailout crisis

USS George Washington brings first significant aid to the Philippines

USS George Washington nuclear powered aircraft carrier
USS George Washington nuclear powered aircraft carrier

The first significant international aid since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines started flowing Thursday with the arrival of the USS George Washington aircraft carrier. Helicopters began ferrying in food and clean water for regions that have seen little help in days. Other supplies included tarpaulin sheets to shelter people from the sun and rain, as entire cities and towns have had roofs blown off almost every building. Many people are getting increasingly angry at the Philippine government for its failure to provide adequate aid to starving homeless people. USA Today

China snubs Philippines on humanitarian aid, then backs down

China has been forced by international pressure to reverse a previous decision and send much more humanitarian aid than it originally intended to the Philippines. Following the total destruction of many Philippine cities and the deaths of thousands of people from Typhoon Haiyan, the worst typhoon on record, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Australia have each offered $10 million in humanitarian aid. Additionally, South Korea has pledged $5 million, while the United States has given $20 million and the aid of its military, leading a massive relief effort. But China pledged only $100,000 in aid in an obvious snub to the Philippines.

China is claiming as sovereign territory the entire South China Sea, including regions that have historically belonged to other countries, including the Philippines. China has already forced the Philippines to cede the Scarborough Shoal to China, under threat of military force. So China's obvious snub in humanitarian aid has been heavily criticized internationally, and even its own Global Times said editorially on Wednesday: 

If it snubs Manila this time, China will suffer great losses. China, as a responsible power, should participate in relief operations to assist a disaster-stricken neighboring country.

On Thursday, China announced: 

Several days ago we also decided to send 10 million RMB ($1.64 million) worth of humanitarian aid, including tents and blankets, to the Philippine people in the disaster zone. These include thousands of tents and hundreds of thousands of blankets. ... 
The Chinese are a nation who have a lot of sympathy, a people who love peace, who are happy to do good deeds. I believe that the vast majority of the Chinese people are understanding and sympathetic toward the situation of the Philippine people.

Actually, the Chinese people have a great deal of highly nationalistic hatred of the Philippines, as shown by the initial snub. The Diplomat and LA Times

France and Eurozone economy falter, while Greece approaches new bailout crisis

France's economy contracted by 0.1% in the third quarter (July, August, September) when it had been expected to grow slightly. The entire 17-country eurozone grew by a much slower than expected 0.1% after growing 0.3% in the previous quarter. 

Greece and eurozone officials are making little progress in coming up with 2 billion euros of additional austerity measures and asset sales, as previously committed to the "Troika" of organizations bailing out Greece -- the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) -- in exchange for the previous 240 billion euro bailouts. Greece is offering up 1.2 billion euros in the form of "clamping down on loopholes that allow companies to evade social security contributions, reducing the budgets of public organizations, merging state bodies and strictly implementing the across-the-board wage structure in the public sector." 

Greek officials are refusing the Troika request to sell off the government-owned weapons manufacturer Hellenic Defense Systems. An agreement has to be reached in time for Greece to receive a new bailout loan to pay off about 1.85 billion euros of bonds falling due on January 11. Reuters and Kathimerini

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Philippines, China, Typhoon Haiyan, USS George Washington, Japan, Australia, South China Sea, Scarborough Shoal, France, eurozone, Greece, Troika 

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