ICRC chief eyes increasing cooperation with China

Xinhua News Agency


International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer told Xinhua in a recent interview here that the ICRC is seeking to increase cooperation with China.

Maurer visited Brussels last week, during which he met European Union (EU) representatives, including European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Noting that humanitarian aid must be of global concern, he told Xinhua he discussed the crises in the Middle East, Syria, Iraq and Libya and its impact on Europe and debated how aid agencies could cope with the multiple ongoing humanitarian crises.

Maurer noted he felt a lot of support during his Brussels visit for the ICRC, a non-political organization that tries to stabilize war- and violence-torn societies through humanitarian work.

"In terms of financial support, we have still a big discrepancy between financial support from European and industrialized countries. We do not yet have so much support from other parts of the world," he said.

Maurer said China, as a signatory to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, has an interest in the development of protection and application the humanitarian law.

He said as China increased its engagement in world affairs, there is also an interest in the activities of ICRC. As ICRC is an important actor in the Middle East and Africa, "we are exploring how to increase cooperation with China in those contexts," he said.

Maurer noted ICRC supported the Chinese Red Cross, livelihood programs and capacity-building programs in China. "Not to forget, ICRC is one of the many big buyers of Chinese goods. We spend a lot of money buying key elements of humanitarian goods in China for our operations worldwide," he said.

"There is a broad relationship with China from law to commerce, with the possibility to further cooperation in the future. We hope China will become a more important donor for ICRC," he added.

The ICRC chief has nominated an envoy for China affairs, and Maurer said he himself hopes to visit China for a strategic dialogue to identify joint projects and activities.

Addressing Europe's refugee crisis, Maurer felt the problem was not of migration but a lack of management of migration flows.

"We think we should work closer together to prevent migration which is due to violence. We should explore how we can work to manage migration flows because unmanaged flows cause political problems, which we have seen not only in Europe, but also in neighboring countries of those in conflict," he said.