Political wrestles behind tsunami disaster relief

According to the xinhuanet.com both developing countries including China and developed countries such as the US, many European countries and Japan embodied the unprecedented humanitarian spirit in the disaster relief mission in view of the catastrophic tsunamis triggered off by extremely strong earthquake in the Indian Ocean regions. Although some countries only made sluggish progress and some countries carried out promises entirely different from those of others at the very beginning, they were not content to be left behind under the criticism from the international community and thus became the main force in the disaster relief operation. As far as some countries are concerned, however, as some sensitive experts pointed out while they were doing their disaster relief they were filled with strong political intention and wrestles.

New American-Europe friction incited by disaster relief

In recent years, the US has been pursuing an unreasonable unilateralism and tried repeatedly to go away from the involvement of the UN and its Western allies in many major international issues. The new problems and disputes emerged between the US and Europe this time on the issue of who should take the lead in the relief mission in the tsunami-hit Indian Ocean regions.

The US multiplies its relief efforts for the second time to the Asian countries devastated by tsunamis. The acting US president George W. Bush invited his father, senior Bush, and former president Bill Clinton to lead an unprecedented large scale campaign of fund raising, calling for all Americans to open their wallets and contribute their part for the tsunami-struck nations and people in South and Southeast Asia

The US advocated for a centralized relief mechanism mainly consisting of neighboring countries, and put forward a "central rescue group" composed of Japan, the US, Australia and India to help the relief mission and reconstruction in tsunami-hit nations. However, European countries were in favor of an UN-centered relief mechanism. Mars Di Bartolomeo, Minister of Health and Social Security of Luxembourg, the country holding the EU's rotating presidency, demanded decisively on Jan 1 in Geneva-based World Health Organization that the implementation of relief program be based on the UN-centered mechanism.

French president Jacques Chirac also echoed Bartolomeo's view, advocating for a rescue troop organized by the UN.

Political analysts believed that the real reason behind Europe's favor of a UN-centered relief mechanism lay not only in the heavy death toll and the missing among European tourists, but also the deadly needed international support in view of the devastating tsunami disaster in which over 150,000 people were killed with more than ten countries being affected.

According to these analysts, the European countries became more and more disgusted with the actions by which the US president Bush, who had no faith in the UN and hated European countries, deliberately weeded the UN and the Europe out. Therefore, the new friction between the US and the Europe appeared on the horizon.

The US intended to improve its national image through the relief operation.

The US has promised a total of 350 million US dollars relief fund to the tsunami-affected countries, and pledged large-scale military maneuver if necessary. "The US's relief operation to the tsunami-devastated Asian countries aims at changing its national image damaged in the Muslim world," noted the US secretary of state Colin Powell without any mincing expressions.

"I hope our value system can be further verified when the Indonesians see the helicopter pilots we sent to rescue them," said Powell during a joint press reception with Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda.

At the US's 109th Congress convened on Jan 4, both the House of Senates and the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution on the relief mission towards the south Asian countries hit by tsunamis, and conveyed the USí»s condolences to the victims. Meanwhile, the US also vowed to cooperate with the international society and give full support to the relief operation reconstruction in the affected south Asian countries.

Delivering a speech at the congress, minority party leader Senator Reed verbally attacked the sluggish reaction Bush Administration has taken over the relief mission in the initial days after the disaster occurred. Fortunately, the US government took a series of emergency make-up measures, thanks to which Senator Reed is satisfied with US's relief operation now.

Japan's active relief operation is out of its own national interests.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi participated in the leaders' special summit on the issue of the tsunami incurred by strong earthquake in the Indian Ocean. According to the local media, the large-scale military forces and the 500 million US dollars free economic aid offered by Japan was regarded as the result that the Japanese government has become fully aware of the Chinese influence in the current relief operation.

The political analysts also maintained that Japan's aid was aimed at diplomatic significance. The "ASEAN + Japan, China and ROK" leaders summit decided that the "East Asian Leader Summit" would be convened within 2005, and the idea of "East Asian Community" would also be initiated, which contained the agreement for accelerating the signing of the free trade zone within ASEAN member countries. Therefore, Japan must take quicker action against China"s move.

Apart from that, the analysts also held, Japan's "contribution" to the world was the price it has to pay for realizing its desire of becoming a permanent member in the UN Security Council.

By People's Daily Online

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