Belgium applauds China’s reaction to recent disaster
Belgian Foreign Minister praises openness of Chinese authorities for allowing international media access to the earthquake zone.20 May 2008
BELGIUM - The Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht is in China for a six-day visit. He is discussing aid provision following the recent disaster, but also human rights.
On Monday morning, De Gucht met with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. He promised that Belgium would build a tent camp for 2,000 earthquake survivors.
The Belgian foreign minister told the VRT that a lot of tents and aid had already been dispatched by air, but that the intention was to provide even more.
A field hospital will also be built together with the tent camp.
The Chinese and Belgian authorities are now looking at how this can be realised as soon as possible.
"China responded like an adult"
De Gucht praised the openness with which the Chinese authorities had reacted after the earthquake. The Chinese media were also allowed to play their role to the full.
De Gucht is pleased that both Chinese and international journalists have been given access to the disaster area.
The minister said reporters could bring stories as if the disaster had happened in Europe and this is a step in the right direction.
He added: “This is the first time that the Chinese have given very adult response to a disaster like this".
De Gucht also broached the subject of human rights with the Chinese Foreign Minister.
He added: "This is a good atmosphere in which to discuss human rights, though it's a dreadful moment for China".
He rejected any idea of limiting the human rights discussion to Tibet. De Gucht believes there are several human rights problems that affect all of China such as the death penalty.
[flandersenews.be / Expatica]