A friend in need is a friend indeed
Sir: China has been closely following the strong earthquakes that have caused severe casualties in Türkiye and Syria. The Chinese people are heart-broken for the loss of their loved ones. President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence each to Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, extending deep condolences over the loss of lives and sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured. President Xi conveyed his belief that the people of Türkiye and Syria will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homes at an early date.
Türkiye and Syria are both friendly countries to China. In the wake of the devastating earthquakes, China stands ready to do all it can to assist friends. The Chinese government immediately activated the emergency humanitarian assistance mechanism. The first batch of 40 million-yuan emergency aid has been on its way to Türkiye, including heavy urban search and rescue teams, medical teams and urgently needed disaster relief supplies. China is coordinating urgently needed disaster relief supplies to be shipped to Syria and speeding up the delivery of ongoing food aid programmes. The Red Cross Society of China has provided emergency humanitarian assistance to the Turkish Red Crescent and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.
China’s rescue team has arrived in Türkiye and immediately rushed to the city of Antakya in the worst-hit Hatay province. They rescued a pregnant woman trapped under the debris together with Turkish rescuers. China’s Hong Kong SAR government also sent a 59-member search and rescue team to Türkiye to assist in local rescue efforts. A plane took off from Beijing and headed to Syria, carrying the first batch of medical supplies enough to cover the needs of 5,000 people and a rescue team from the Red Cross Society of China. Apart from the cash assistance and material aid that have been announced, China is also speeding up the delivery of ongoing food aid programmes for Syria, including 220 tonnes of wheat already on its way and more than 3,000 tonnes of rice and wheat to be shipped in two batches shortly.
As a Chinese saying goes, one side has difficulties and all sides provide support. Gradually accumulated and formed in the long-term common production and labour process, it has become a traditional virtue of the Chinese Nation. Because there are unforeseen circumstances and people have fortunes and misfortunes, people living in society will always encounter some unpredictable disasters and insurmountable difficulties and need help from others. China, as a past victim of heavily-struck earthquakes, has the feeling for Türkiye and Syria.
The assistance from China is rich resonance with China’s foreign policy that is guided by the concept of “building a community with a shared future for mankind” put forward by President Xi Jinping. In the face of serious natural disasters, human society should strive to reach the common goal of providing timely help to the victims and preventing a more serious humanitarian disaster from happening due to the earthquake. Thus, the international community needs to achieve unity and coordination at a larger level.
Going forward, China will provide additional support and assistance in light of the needs of Türkiye and Syria.
Chu Maoming is China’s Consul General in Lagos.