BEIJING, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- China has received international criticism for failing to donate more to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
China, the world's second largest economy, has pledged just $1.6 million in aid to the Philippines, where at least 3,621 people were killed and 236,000 homes were destroyed during the typhoon, USA Today reported.
However, the pledge, which was upped from an original offer of $100,000 after China received flack from the international community for the low amount, is less than a check written by Swedish furniture store Ikea.
"China's action illustrates the blundering nature of its foreign policy," said Phillip Swagel, a former assistant secretary for economic policy at the U.S. Treasury Department and co-author of "Awkward Embrace: The United States and China in the 21st Century." "This is an unforced error for them, revealing to other countries the limits of Chinese friendship."
Bonnie Glaser, an East Asia adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said China usually gives less aid to foreign disasters because it still sees itself as a developing nation.
"There's not a lot of support domestically in China for foreign assistance," Glaser said. "The leadership worries that they would be criticized if they were found to be giving too much money away and not helping the poor at home."
"They do give assistance, but in the disaster relief area they generally don't give very much compared to other countries," Glaser said.
Meanwhile, Ikea said it has donated $2.7 million to the United Nations Children's Fund, The Local.se reported.
"We provided cash assistance so Unicef can buy the kinds of supplies most needed by the children right now, like water purifiers, nourishment, medical supplies, etc," Ikea Foundation spokesman Jonathan Spampinato told The Local via email on Friday.
The United States has promised $20 million, while Australia has pledged $30 million, the United Kingdom pledged $16 million and the United Arab Emirates pledged $10 million.