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China Might Get Global Power Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak

The U.S. and China rivalry, with its already bad status, might experience more agitation as the coronavirus pandemic worsens. The outbreak might have the power to tilt the balance of global domination in Beijing’s favor.

Since the pandemic began, tensions continued to flare up on some front. Then, Washington and Beijing started striking at each other about the exact range and origin of the coronavirus outbreak. And once again, U.S. President Donald Trump did not fail in threatening with tariffs. Now, the two countries are even arguing about the South China Sea issue.

Based on the global political risk consultancy, Verisk Maplecroft, the pandemic is likely to increase the U.S.-China strategic rivalry.

Also, the principal Asia analyst, Hugo Brennan, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic would likely ignite an increase in geopolitical tensions among the United States and China. Therefore, he foresees that the virus will stay as a key source of friction for the following 12 months.

On Wednesday, the Intelligence Unit (EIU) noted, “In times of crisis, global rivalries tend to intensify rather than abate. The coronavirus crisis has led to a further deterioration in the already chronically bad relations between China and the U.S.”

They also said that the outbreak is not the main reason for the difficulties in the U.S.-China war. Instead, it merely exacerbates trends that have existed for several years as the two countries fight for economic dominance.


The Trade War

For the past couple of years, both economic giants have become embroiled in a trade war. This has spilled over into some disputes on intellectual property rights and then moved into larger issues like technological dominance.

Last January, the two countries reached a phase one agreement before the virus hit. However, the future of that deal is now on edge. A week ago, Trump declared that it was now secondary to the pandemic and threatened another tariff on Beijing in retaliation for its virus response.

Trump will possibly build his presidential campaign around a ‘Blame China’ rallying call. And according to Brennan, if he gets re-elected, it might end up with another four years of fractious relations with Beijing.


The Use of the Pandemic

Several analysts, despite the anti-China rhetoric, are saying that the pandemic might speed up the change in global power going from the West to the East.

Aside from the U.S., the U.K. and Australia are blaming China for its initial response to the outbreak. And they criticized it as slow and non-transparent.

Nevertheless, this will not be enough of a reason to stop the Asian giant from extending itself worldwide. Also, China even has the power to use the crisis as an opportunity to boost its profile and develop its influence, especially on countries last-hit by the pandemic, by giving them much-needed support. As of now, Beijing has already embarked on so-called mask diplomacy, delivering medical supplies to affected countries.

Above all, China has a chance to further cement its presence in parts of eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the EIU.


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