China Aids Important Ally After Cyclone

China's aid to Myanmar might not win over many Western critics, but Western critics are not China's target audience, said Bill Kirby, a China expert and history professor at Harvard University.

"Burma's performance was poor, both in warning its people about the immediate danger and in its response after the cyclone hit. It's a good sign that China stepped into a leadership position in its part of the world," said Kirby.

"It is a good sign that China was helpful quickly. If you compare the China of today with the China of several decades ago, China acts much more like other countries than different. It is a healthy sign that it is among the countries taking the lead. It is right and proper that it do so for a country on its doorstep," Kirby added.

"The aid has more to do with making an impression, and how it wants to be perceived by its neighbors, than how it wants to be perceived in the broader international community, in terms of the Olympics," he said.

By comparison to China's offer of $1 million, the U.S. initially offered $250,000 in aid and assistance to Burma.

On Tuesday, President Bush increased that offer by $3 million, provided the junta accepts the money from a president who has been a vocal critic of the military regime, and which turned down U.S. offers of aid following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

"Our message is to the military rulers. Let the United States come and help you, help the people," Bush told reporters.

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