In Philippine relief efforts, China beaten by Ikea

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Associated Press

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 14 at 6:03 AM

BEIJING (AP) — There's an outpouring of international aid to the Philippines.

Australia is giving $28 million, the U.S. is promising $20 million and Japan is pledging $10 million and is planning to send about 1,000 troops. But China, the world's second-largest economy, is offering less than $2 million in cash and materials. That's less than the $2.7 million offer from furniture chain Ikea.

China's reluctance to give more is driven by a bitter feud with Manila over overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

China politics expert Zheng Yongnian of the University of Singapore says, "China has missed an excellent opportunity to show itself as a responsible power and to generate goodwill."

The decline of American influence in Asia, with China filling the vacuum, has been predicted for years. Yet, China lags far behind the U.S. in the sphere of soft power — the winning of hearts and minds through culture, education, and other non-traditional forms of diplomacy.

China's donations to the Philippines include $100,000 each from the government and the Chinese Red Cross, and $1.64 million in tents, blankets and other goods.

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