MEDIA REPORT - Philippines, China cooperate over typhoon relief
Reuters Nov. 25
2013-11-27 14:08

MANILA - Maritime tensions notwithstanding, Chinese and Philippine navy officials are working together to bring relief for typhoon survivors in Leyte province.

China has sent a state-of-the-art hospital ship to the Philippines following foreign and domestic criticism that it was slow and less than generous in its response to one of the world's biggest typhoons, which has so far killed 5,235 people.

The Chinese mission commander met with Philippine navy officials on the 'Peace Ark' which was docked off the Tacloban port on Monday.

"Sino-Philippines has a long-term friendly relationship as neighbours. When a neighbour is suffering from a disaster, we should provide full assistance at the fastest possible time," Rear Admiral Shen Hao said.

The hospital ship treated some survivors including patients with respiratory tract problems on Monday, and performed two surgeries.

"In front of a doctor there is no contradiction and conflict, but only the patients," Shen added.

Tension between China and the Philippines had risen in recent months over disputed claims in the South China Sea, with Manila taking Beijing to a United Nations court to challenge its historic claim to much of the strategic waterway.

The Philippine navy's Commodore Reynaldo Yoma cast aside the South China Sea dispute, and said all countries were welcome in the typhoon aid effort.

"This is not time for discussing political issues or what. We are here to jointly combine our efforts. To help our 'kababayans', our fellow countrymen and everybody's welcome. For those who are willing to help us, we will also ensure that they are able to accomplish their mission, by providing necessary assistance to them," Yoma said.

The Chinese mission has asked Philippine officials to provide transport for patients to be brought to the floating hospital. They are also setting up field hospitals in Tacloban and other areas, to be more accessible to patients.(abridged from Reuters)

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