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China thanks Taiwan for concern over devastating floods

China thanks Taiwan for concern over devastating floods
The office of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen offered condolences to people affected by floods in central China. File Photo courtesy of Voice of America

July 22 (UPI) -- China issued a rare statement of gratitude after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen conveyed concerns over the impact of deadly floods in central China amid ongoing cross-strait tensions.

Zhu Fenglian, a Chinese spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said Thursday "relevant parties in Taiwan and people from all walks of life have expressed their concern and condolences to the disaster-stricken area through various forms.

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"Some Taiwan-funded enterprises donated money and materials to the disaster-stricken area. We are grateful for this gesture," Zhu said, according to Radio Taiwan International.

The Chinese statement comes after Tsai offered condolences to people hit by floods in China's Henan Province.

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Taiwan's Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang had said Wednesday that the president hoped for a swift recovery in disaster-stricken areas and that the people affected would resume their normal lives, according to Formosa TV.

Chao Chun-shan, a Taiwanese political scientist at Tamkang University, told Taiwan's Central News Agency that it is significant Tsai's office issued the statement directly. Cross-strait relations are typically handled by other government agencies, Chao said.

According to Chao, Tsai could be seeking to build goodwill with Beijing. The shared challenge of climate change could be a point of cooperation between the two sides, the Taiwanese analyst said.

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Torrential rains in Henan flooded city transportation systems and inundated roads. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and at least 25 people have died, according to the Guardian Wednesday.

In the city of Zhengzhou, subway passengers could be seen standing helplessly as floodwaters begin to rise in train cars, according to footage uploaded to Chinese social media platforms.

Liu Junyan of Greenpeace International said that rapid urbanization has led to highly concentrated populations becoming more vulnerable to climate hazards in China.

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