Zheng Weibin thinks that strategic rivalry between China and the US will only intensify in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. As the US moves to close off its vulnerabilities in the global supply chain, will Europe do the same and if so, what will the new face of globalisation look like?
As the Covid-19 coronavirus starts to ease domestically, China is now extending help to other countries that gave it assistance in the initial stages of the outbreak and publicising its efforts domestically and globally. While these efforts are sparking praise from Chinese netizens, it is getting mixed reactions in the global arena. Academics say a quieter and calmer approach may be preferred. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at how China’s pandemic diplomacy is being received.
While China has been diligently making hay while the sun shines, so to speak, in conducting “pandemic diplomacy”, experts assess that its relations with countries in Europe will improve but the US will still hold on to its dominance in the international arena.
Following the US labelling China state-owned media organisations in the US as “foreign operatives” and limiting US-based Chinese media staff, China has retaliated by expelling US journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Yang Danxu and Norman Yik examine how this might affect China-US relations, the “one country, two systems” policy, and press freedom in China.
In part due to the US being caught on the back foot in handling Covid-19, China now has a lead on gaining diplomatic ground and shaping the global narrative through "pandemic diplomacy", says Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong. For a start, China has provided medical supplies to countries and regional organisations such as Pakistan, Laos, Thailand, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy and the African Union, in a strong show of camaraderie through actions.
US-based academic Hu Hao warns that the US needs to diversify its supply chains and revive its manufacturing industry, particularly in the medical sector, if it does not wish to let its major competitor China have undue leverage during times of emergency and beyond.
Singaporean candidate Daren Tang, chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, won the nomination for the post of the new director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on 4 March, pipping the Chinese deputy director general to the post. Chinese professor Zhu Ying analyses the push back from the US amid China’s rising influence in various UN bodies.
With the Covid-19 epidemic worsening in the US and spreading all over the world, the US has criticised China for covering up the initial outbreak. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also tweeted recently that Covid-19 could have been brought to Wuhan by US troops. Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong examines the possible considerations behind comments on both sides.
"If an American president tells Asians that 'we will not help Europe, but are certainly committed to defending Asia', could that be credible?" asks Associate professor Michito Tsuruoka from Keio University. He says that in view of a rising China, transatlantic relations have more impact on strategic imperatives in Asia than one might think.