onsdag 22. april 2020

Coronavirus is both a crisis and an opportunity for China's aggressive new diplomacy

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, China has struggled to control the narrative around its role in the crisis. Is Beijing a noble victim, ably controlling an unforeseeable viral outbreak and now assisting other countries in their own efforts, or the villain, ultimately to blame for the misery spreading around the world?

Considerable effort has been expended in pushing the first line. China has donated large amounts of medical supplies to parts of Europe and Africa. China's state media, which has an outsized influence in much of the developing world, has also played up praise from the World Health Organization (WHO) and others of its response to and recovery from the initial outbreak, in stark contrast to many parts of the world now struggling to cope.

The coronavirus crisis presents a key opportunity for China to solidify its status as a superpower and global leader, particularly as the United States has struggled to contain the outbreak, and US President Donald Trump has alienated some allies with his "America first" approach to the crisis.
At the same time, however, Beijing has not been able to avoid intense scrutiny and criticism -- mainly, but not solely from Washington -- over how initial delays in the country's response may have squandered vital opportunities to contain the now global pandemic, as well as skepticism over its reporting of coronavirus figures and the country's recovery.