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China Open to International Cooperation in Disaster Relief

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A military spokesman said Tuesday that China was open to international participation in disaster relief, though foreign rescue teams were not needed in the present quake relief in northwestern Qinghai Province.

"The Ministry of Defense remained open to international cooperation in disaster relief," said Huang Xueping, the ministry's spokesman, at a press conference here.

It is a consensus in the international community that nations should work together to improve their capability to fight disasters, Huang said.

The Chinese armed forces were expected to improve cooperation with their counterparts in other countries, he said.

However, in quake-hit Yushu of Qinghai Province, the local geographic conditions restricted a large force of rescuers from entering the area and the current number of rescuers was enough to handle the situation, he said.

Huang suggested foreign military departments donate funds to help rehabilitation in the quake zone.

He appreciated armed forces and defense departments from eight countries for extending condolences to China after the quake struck Yushu on Wednesday.

Guo Weimin, director of the press bureau of the State Council Information Office, told the same press conference, that some media reports that China did not accept foreign assistance for "other reasons" were not correct.

China welcomed and appreciated countries and organizations which had expressed the will to help, and had given bank account details for donations, he said.

For some countries which offered to send rescue teams, the Chinese government was "grateful for their kindness," he said.

"We believe, through the efforts of Chinese people and assistance from the international community, people in the quake zone will cope with the disaster and rebuild their homes in time," he said.

The 7.1-magnitude quake had so far left 2,046 people dead, 193 missing and 12,135 injured.

(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2010)

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