MEDIA REPORT - When words fail; Mending fences with China
-Excerpts. By Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 23, 2013
2013/11/26

Peoples from around the world responded to the Philippines' cry for help in the aftermath of Yolanda. But more than the material help given the response showed the oneness of the world. There is hope for humanity when peoples are able to come together in crisis regardless of differences or economic status. The driving factor was show solidarity when faced with disaster and human suffering.

This was true especially of the responses that came from China and the United States. The Philippines is at the center of their competition for supremacy in the region.

There were attempts to waylay the goodwill generated by the two. At least in FB I saw some some bad mouthing from misguided persons who would rather continue hostile exchanges and stoke the conflict even in the face of the tragedy to the Philippines. Happily these are being ignored by the competing superpowers. They remain focused to use their skills and resources to help the Philippines.

Filipinos cheered when the USS Washington steamed into Philippine waters to show its might and power. It is described as "the second of two battleships in the North Carolina class," in Wikipedia and the third ship named in honor of the 42nd state. There was praise for the speed with which the battleship was dispatched to the Philippines. But there were also skeptics who wondered why the US should have to send a battle ship with a huge contingent of soldiers. These remained musings of amateur political analysts.

Meanwhile the Chinese government sent its The Peace Ark Hospital Ship, the first 10,000- ton class hospital ship in the world, to the Philippines for medical aid. Although there were still some Chinese smarting over the suit filed by the Aquino government on the South China sea conflict, the hardline Global Times came with a strong editorial which urged the Chinese government to put this aside and show its own strength in the soft power supremacy in the region.

The Philippines is a beneficiary of the one-upmanship contest if the incumbent government handles it well. This is an extraordinary opportunity to mend our fences with China. It has made a move to overrule Chinese netizens in the Internet still smarting over the Philippine suit in the UNCLOS.

It too has its own critics for coming later than the US. But the scale of Yolanda's destruction is such that help will be needed for a long time. Indeed China is in time to pitch in for both short and long term rehabilitation. Who knows? The cooperation developed in crisis could lead to a solution to South China Sea conflict.

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