By: Siddhant Sarang
With the whole planet on some form of lockdown, the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the world. Millions of people are quarantined at their home. The doors will open soon. But may be with a new geopolitical equation.
The entire world is dealing with the global pandemic of coronavirus in their own ways meanwhile, the world is looking towards China to find the answer to the most asked question of the hour, “How corona spread?” In the public mind, the origin story of coronavirus seems well fixed that China deliberately made it in Wuhan’s lab to spread it in the world but it mistakenly spread in China itself. The rest is part of an awful history still in the making. It is alleged that China could have stopped the spread of COVID-19 before it swept the globe and it is also believed that China tried to hide information about it from the world. This claim is backed by sudden addition of number of deaths by 1,290 by Wuhan’s administration, nearly added 50%. Resultantly, world leaders started tightening grip on China and its alleged negligence.
US President Donald Trump accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of going soft on China over the COVID-19 pandemic and suspended U.S. payments to the agency. US blames China for deliberately spreading the virus and US state of Missouri sued China, Communist Party over the coronavirus. US Intelligence is also investigating whether the COVID-19 began spreading after an accident at a Chinese high-security biomedical laboratory in Wuhan. In the wake of this investigation, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of not allowing American scientists to visit the country and investigate the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Conflict between US and China on international stage is not new. Trade war is an example. But things took darker turn when UK joined the investigation. This was out of tradition. According to Sky News, the UK has joined the US and other intelligence communities in looking at all possibilities as they try to establish the source of the COVID-19 outbreak. Other European executives are also criticising China for this outbreak. French President Emmanuel Macron questioned China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak told the Financial Times that it was naive to suggest China had dealt better with the crisis, adding things “happened that we don’t know about”. This backlash came from European countries after it COVID-19 caused so much disruption in Italy and Spain, claiming around 50,000 lives in both countries.
As USA is playing blame-game with WHO & China, and European countries are facing worst turmoil of this pandemic, China is leaving no stone unturned to launch itself onto the global stage by extending its hand for help to other nations. Chinese government extended help to 127 countries in their fight against COVID-19 pandemic, reported China based CGTN News. These countries include Italy, Iraq, Iran, South Korea and Pakistan etc. The medical supplies China has sent include test kits, masks and protective clothing. Italy, one of the world’s worst corona affected countries, called European Member states to help Italy with desperately needed doctors, supplies and equipment. The European countries failed to respond to the call and refused to help their neighbour country who was fighting the “race against time”. Responding to the emergency call from Italy, China agreed to send over two million face masks and some 10,000 lung ventilators, 20,000 protective suits, along with 50,000 test kits to Italy and several team of medical experts. This step of China not only helped it to increase its geopolitical influence, but China has successfully penetrated the European unity.
China has sent face masks, protective suits, test kits to 127 countries and four international organizations, 13 medical teams to 11 countries and held over 70 video conferences sharing experience and data with more than 150 countries and regions as well as international organizations, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. China’s local governments, companies and organizations have donated medical supplies to over 100 countries, he added. Speaking of commercial procurement, Zhao said 58 countries and regions as well as four international organizations have signed contracts with Chinese manufacturers. From March 1 to April 4, China exported medical supplies including 3.86 billion face masks, 37.52 million protective suits, 2.41 million thermometers, and 16,000 ventilators, 2.84 million test kits and 8.41 million pairs of protective glasses, worth a total of 10.2 billion yuan (1.4 billion U.S. dollars), according to China Custom.
Deng Xiaoping, the successor to China’s revolutionary founder Chairman Mao Zedong, adopted an isolationist strategy, and for years China avoided international entanglements. But the current Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought expansion of influence in international politics & organisations. China has already manoeuvred Party officials into top spots in at least four of the U.N.’s 15 specialized agencies, while the United States leads only one. And China’s efforts to influence the WHO, the health arm of the U.N., are a good example of that strategy but President Trump’s threat to WHO on fund cut can also pave path for China’s high-handedness along with countries who it helped during pandemic. The way Beijing responded to the calls of many nations worldwide for medical help clears their intentions. In such a situation, if the superpower countries are stuck in accusations, then China will succeed in its intentions. They must ravage China’s supremacist intent.
(Siddhant Sarang is pursuing graduation in History from the University of Delhi)
(The views expressed above are the author’s own. Newsd neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)