tirsdag 21. juli 2020

US allies once seemed cowed by China. Now they're responding with rare coordination

Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised the world with a speech at Davos in 2017, defending free trade and joint action on climate change as then US president-elect Donald Trump argued for precisely the opposite. It might have been an overambitious pitch by Xi to position China as the world's next leader, but it also seemed a genuine sign that Beijing was committing to the international rules-based order. 

Today, the warmth in the room at Davos has all but gone. The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world and now some of those leaders who were so impressed by Xi's vision for China are complaining of Beijing's state secrecy, misinformation and the muzzling of whistleblowers during the initial stages of the coronavirus outbreak, allegations the Chinese government firmly denies.
Beijing is used to such diplomatic skirmishes, but something has shifted: Countries that once condemned China softly have become louder and their actions bolder. They are clearly coordinating their China responses, looking for strength in numbers.