International comment in the aftermath of the earthquake in Taiwan which may have claimed as many as 5,000 lives
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TAIWAN HAS experienced its most serious earthquake of the century. Aftershocks are expected for two more months. But despite preparations, there is not much to be done. Taiwanese people can only pray for their lives, hoping that there will be no further damage. The estimated loss is about HK$25bn and expected to grow. Taiwan is a rich place. It should be able to cope with the financial losses. But condolences and aid from other countries must have warmed the hearts of the Taiwanese. The mainland's sympathy could help ease the cross-straits tension.

Sing Tao, Hong Kong

THIS NATURAL calamity is a blow to that island nation which, over the years, has made enormous contributions to the cause of humanity. There is no corner of the globe which has not been touched and benefited from the benevolence with which the people of the Republic of China have become synonymous. Although separated by thousands of kilometres and oceans, Swaziland and the Republic of China and their two peoples share a close brotherly relationship. For us in Swaziland, the pain and suffering we feel is akin to losing closest relatives and friends, which the Taiwanese people are.

Swazi Observer, South Africa

TAIWAN MUST be wary of accepting assistance from China because it might come with strings attached - strings of understanding about the relationship between the two Chinas. But it should be possible for China to suspend its anger over Taiwanese President Lee Teng Hui's call for the two entities to negotiate as separate states. Helping hands might develop a level of trust between the two Chinas that could ultimately lead to peaceful reunification. Improved China-Taiwan relations could be a great good that comes out of an enormous catastrophe.

Star Telegram, US

FACING THE devastation left by the massive quake, the Taiwanese Government should accept support from overseas. Political disputes should be put aside. To those surviving under the wreckage, every minute is precious. The more help from others, the higher the chance of survival. We suggest that Beijing stop criticising Taiwan, especially those threatening military action, to allow the Taiwanese government to allocate more human resources to save the victims. Hong Kong cannot provide any specialists to help, but local concern groups can do their best by raising funds and resources for the Taiwanese people.

Apple Daily, Hong Kong

GREECE AND Turkey could not talk to each other before each suffered a severe earthquake. After that, enmity was forgotten as Greeks rushed to help and Turks later reciprocated. There is a similar change of tone across the strait as Peking drops its belligerent stance, and speaks of the blood ties that unite, rather than of politics which divide. How sad that it can take tragedy to make people recognise a common bond. Beneath the rhetoric, this is one nation. If Peking's offer of help can cool things down, then even amid such devastation Taiwan can expect calmer and happier days in the future.

South China Morning Post, Hong Kong