torsdag 2. april 2020

Trump's Covid-19 lapse gives China an opening

The same week that Trump announced his travel restrictions on Europeans, the Chinese sent a planeload of medical supplies to Italy. Thousands of Chinese masks, ventilators, and test kits have been arriving across Europe, in some cases accompanied by Chinese medics. Such assistance may be part of a Chinese charm offensive, but the bottom line is that China is stepping up for Europe at a time when the United States is nowhere to be found. "We are not alone, there are people in the world who want to help Italy," remarkedthe Italian foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, in response to the arrival of Chinese help.

China's medical assistance to Europe builds on Beijing's ongoing efforts to woo the continent through its Belt and Road Initiative, which entails massive Chinese investment in infrastructure and the construction of new trade linkages that span Eurasia. China already has financial stakes in over a dozen European ports, including major gateways in Greece and Italy. The allure of deeper ties to Asia's markets is pulling Europeans eastward.