Covid-19 Crisis Between US, China and the WHO

Article

• Is Donald Trump trying to move the focus away to something else from the pandemic? • What are the discourses of US and Chinese politics that feed the pandemic accusations? • What policy does the WHO implement between US and China?...

• Is Donald Trump trying to move the focus away to something else from the pandemic?
• What are the discourses of US and Chinese politics that feed the pandemic accusations?
• What policy does the WHO implement between US and China?


INTRODUCTION

China has attracted the reaction of both the United States (US) and other countries as a result of its attitude towards Covid-19 pandemic, which infected more than 3 million people and killed more than 200,000 people as of beginning of April. And the reason is; China acts slowly to take necessary measures towards the disease, which occurs in the Wuhan region of China. The US President Donald Trump’s criticizing words of the Beijing administration irritated Chinese government. On the other hand, the US announced to cut down fundings towards the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to it’s not being able to carry out its duty effectively towards the pandemic and acting too soft towards China. The US’s spending on defense and, in parallel, the Chinese government's enhancements towards defense strengthening could become a sign of China to be a threat for the US in the Pacific and the Atlantic. In fact, it is predicted that China's investments in this direction will surpass the US in the coming years. On the other hand, there are kinds of explanations that the pandemic crisis will lead to an important global economic crisis, especially in the oil and industry sector. It is noticable that the global leaders are trying to build the future with past experiences at the same time as managing the pandemic.

PANDEMIC TENSION BETWEEN CHINA AND the US

Trump stated that they are not satisfied with China, therefore they have been conducted a serious research on where and why the pandemic originated and that they can hold China responsible in many ways. In the mean time, the US state of Missouri applied to their court with a petition accusing China for the Covid-19 pandemic. The Chinese authorities described the application as "absurd" and stated that there is no concrete legal basis. Beijing Government replies with tough responses towards criticisms coming from around the world. It’s possible to say that US President Trump is eager to find a profile to blame during this pandemic period. China has been accused of slow reaction to the pandemic at the beginning and now. Analysts make evaluations in favour of this blame game to stem from a competition between the US and China.

Experts agree that this verbal conflict can turn into a war while China is accused of covering up the pandemic. Trump insists on identifying the pandemic as the Chinese Virus during his speeches. French President Emmanuel Macron supports these descriptions. On the other hand, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has announced that after the environment returns to normal, they will work on how the virus emerged, spreaded, and will reveal those behind it. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has brought up the proposal to investigate this situation by independent inspectors, who will be appointed internationally, such as those charged with overseeing weapons of mass destruction. He added that the virus cost many people's lives, closed the global economy, and therefore it is quite prudent to conduct such a research. Some experts suggest that the situation will evolve into a revenge between Washington and Beijing after the crisis period.[1]


US AND CHINESE POLITICS’ OPINIONS ON THE PANDEMIC

“US politicians are lying“ says Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang. Shuang adds that American rulers should focus on controlling the pandemic in their country rather than producing accusatory policies for others. Even though compensation claims have been brought up against China from some countries due to the pandemic’s been caused by China. Chinese expert Richard McGregor is of the opinion that the global governance gap created by the US is an advantage for China. US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo has made statements that China may face accusations in the international court. US underlines the fact that they will continue to work towards the global economy while fighting the pandemic.[2]

US senator Mitt Romney claimed that the Coronavirus pandemic had awakened the United States to China's "great strategy" for economic, military and geopolitical control, and called on the National Security Council to challenge Chinese government's statements and practices on the virus. He prepared a report asking China to close the livestock markets to prevent the spread of the virus at the beginning of April. He also published articles titled “America is Awakening to China“ and said that his country is needy to China for medicines to masks. It was added to the statement that China not only steals technology from other countries, but also subsidizes industries that it determines to have strategic importance. Romney makes a statement towards China saying "either play according to global rules or you will face serious economic penalties" and President Trump's request to apply tariffs to Chinese President Xi Jinping is a good decision. He also gave message on resolving their trade disputes with other countries and unite for the exploitation of China.[3]

US senator Tom Cotton said that Chinese students should not be allowed to study science in the US. Cotton added that Chinese students should be banned from studying technology and science in the United States, and Beijing is "not in doubt" trying to steal a coronavirus vaccine from America. He shared that China wants to find the vaccine against this virus and to sell it to the world. Cotton thinks Chinese students, who come to study scientific and technological fields pose a danger to the US. He shares; “if Chinese students want to study in the US they should only be choosing subjects like literature or federalism not quantum computing or artificial intelligence“.[4]


CHINESE REACTIONS TO ACCUSATIONS

China controls more than half of the world production also taken over important markets through its huge government subsidy routes. It can be claimed that China does not comply with the rules followed by its competitors in the free market and the free market is no longer free. It is seen that China tried to hide the pandemic at first, but took serious measures later. On the other hand, Zhao Lijian the deputy director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed an opinion that the virus occurred in America before Wuhan. The statements made by Trump’s cabinet about China to give wrong figures about Covid-19 caused great reaction and anger on the Chinese side. Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to US, said that US-China relations should be reconsidered. He explained that US politicians ignore scientists and make false accusations.[5] The intended message to be delivered by President Trump is that “the virus exited Chinese laboratory“. In the mean time, also the US experiences its own national Dynamics. Criticizes the decisions made by the state administrators and cannot respond to the calls of health professionals. He even makes statements in contrast to some health professionals.


THE WHO BETWEEN THE US AND CHINA

World Health Organisation (WHO) issued its first virus warning on 5th January and reported that the virus was not transmitted between humans. The Organisation also made recommendations for travel and trade restrictions. As the number of cases continued to increase, the WHO changed its report saying that the virus transmits between humans on 14th January whilst suggesting this wasn’t certain from its twitter account. During January, the WHO issued multiple notifications regarding the virus. On 23th January, an emergency committee convened whether there was a global pandemic. At this stage, China has also confirmed that the virus is transmitted from human to human and their healthcare professionals are also infected. By the end of January, the WHO declared a global emergency health situation. Trump announced a travel ban to those coming from China. Thereupon, the Chinese Foreign Ministry accused this decision of being extremist and got the WHO’s support. The director-general of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus met Chinese President Xi Jinping and expressed that he wants to send an expert team to China. However, the expert team was able to go to China days later. In the report created; It has been written that China has taken all necessary measures at a high level. Shortly after, Trump criticized WHO's delay in visiting China and the report.[6]

Trump said that he would halt the funds towards the WHO due to its misleading during the pandemic management and following a China-based policy. Tedros stated that they received Trump's decision with sadness and stated that the US and China could work in a coordinated manner during the pandemic period. With this discourse, in a way he implied that they support the Beijing Govenment.Formun Üstü

The WHO stated in its statement as of 24th April that global leaders came together on the subjects of vaccine, test and treatment for the Covid-19 pandemic. Tedros announced that they introduced tools to speed up vaccination against the virus in a virtual meeting with heads of states and global health leaders and added that this is an important collaboration. Delivering a message of solidarity, the WHO stressed the importance of the states and private sector to act together. A global meeting with the online conference method was hosted by the WHO, President of France, President of the European Commission and the Bill Gates Foundation.[7]


CONCLUSION
US President Trump is eager to find a profile to blame during the pandemic period. US may want to bring like minded countries together against China after the health crisis. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the US is acting ineffective in terms of global hegemony. The Hegemon, which set up a consent-based system with international organizations couldn’t carry out an effective policy with the WHO either. It can be mentioned that even European countries have insecurity towards the US. Transatlantic structure may direct towards Transpasific. This means that international organizations can become inactive in the coming years. On the other hand, China's politics which has not been able to create a global hegemony throughout its history is not ready for such responsibility due to its system being quite authoritarian and closed. Even if China has such an intention, this will not be easy. Although it advocates a communist structure, it has economic policies to support the most liberal system. There is no concrete idea about what kind of international system China wants to create.

After the crisis, the situation could evolve towards a revenge between Washington and Beijing. US senator Romney argues that the Coronavirus pandemic has awakened the US to China's "great strategy" for economic, military and geopolitical control. Australian prime minister Scott Morrison proposed to investigate this situation by independent inspectors, who will be appointed internationally, such as those charged with overseeing weapons of mass destruction. Such discourses shared by experts may convince other countries that the virus killed many people, closed the global economy, and therefore it is quite normal to do such an investigation.

As China rises in the global market, the West hoped that it would move towards freedom and adherence to international trade rules, but this pushed industrial policies. The West hoped that China would act responsible and obey rules of the free markets as it rose in the global arena, unfortunately this situation stressed industrial policies. This tolerance cost the West. China continues to practice monopoly and money manipulation, which are banned by developed countries long ago. As the opinions suggest that if China carrys on not complying with the competition market rules, it may no longer have the opportunity to access other economies for free and unlimited. International experts criticize the US at the same time as China and the WHO. The WHO remained passive in taking the necessary measures towards the Covid-19 pandemic as most experts comment. This may play a role in reducing trust in international organizations.

1.Sarah Zheng, “Coronavirus Blame Game“, South China Morning Post, 18 April 2020.
2.Handan Kazancı, “Latest on Coronavirus Outbreak“, Anadolu Agency, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/latest-on-coronavirus-outbreak/us-china-virus-clash-could-escalate-into-hot-war-expert-warns/1809536 , (Access date: 28 April 2020).
3. Dennis Romboy, “Donald Trump Fair Trade“, Deseret News, 24 April 2020.

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