WORLD CAN NOT AFFORD A FRACTIOUS RELATIONSHIP AT THIS HOUR
The war of words, so far, between the US and China is fast spurning out of control into full scale diplomatic spat. President Donald Trump took the verbal bomb to its furthest height last night when he stated that the pandemic hit the US so hard that its fall-out was worse that Pearl Harbour and 9/11 terror attack on World Trade Centre in New York. “This should not have happened”.
Simultaneously, the World Health Organisation is mounting a fresh mission to China to investigate the origins of the novel corona virus epidemic. This comes on the back of Australian prime minister’s earlier suggestion that an international probe should be instituted into the origins of the pandemic in China.
The Pearl Harbour bombing by Japan, destroying a huge part of the US fleet resting at the harbour in Hawaii in 1941, immediately brought US into the Second World War officially. This was followed with two US atom bombs being dropped on two Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The terrorist strike in September 2011 was followed by two decades of anti-terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, among others, which destroyed the base of Al Queda, which had claimed the attack. The fear is that all round bad tempers should not unwittingly result in some ill-advised steps to further heighten tensions.
In between the verbal diatribes, the US had often threatened China with fresh tariffs and sending of naval forces in the disputed South China Seas, which China has been claiming as its own sovereign coastal waters.
As it is emerging, at the centre of the inter-continental fight is the Wuhan Institute of Virology located in Wuhan city in Hubei province where the coronavirus pandemic’s first patient was detected. China has angrily rejected US’s allegations of a leak from the Wuhan institute causing the global pandemic. It continued to insist that the virus came out from the animal market and then it jumped from one species to humans in a “natural way”. At its worse, the US even had hinted that the virus was man-made and not natural.
But, so far, weighty scientific evidence suggest otherwise and many of the top US scientists have not backed up their president’s suggestions.
However, more than the president, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has continued to be more strident and right from the beginning he described the novel corona virus as the “Wuhan Virus”. President Trump has referred to it, time and again, as the “China Virus.”
These descriptions and charges have infuriated China and the official condemnation has come in the strongest language in the state controlled media. Global Times, which is the first among its official press, has criticised Pompeo in strongest language and observed he has lost his moral compass.
Other media has been even more personal and acerbic. Official TV channel in China has called him “insane” and “evil”, while the official news agency of China described him as a “liar”.
Ill tempers are flying on both sides and more so in China. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman briefed foreign correspondents that China was “fed up with such tricks”. It launched its counter-attack that US was seeking to slap China with these false allegations to hide its own domestic failures.
Going further, the ministry indicated that these charges were put up to promote Trump’s re-election prospects which had dimmed because of his failure to take proper actions domestically.
They claimed that there was no evidence that the epidemic was sparked off by some leaks from the Wuhan Institute.
In response to international condemnation and responsibility for the spread of the pandemic, China had sought to answer with more aggressive diplomatic stance. This has done the least to restore China’s global standing and informed analysts are convinced that the country’s “soft power” has all but disappeared.
Among these experts is Kevin Rudd, former Australian prime minister, and currently he is heading the foreign policy wing of Brookings Institute in Washington. In a paper Rudd has pointed out that China’s handling of the epidemic and its consequences on its economy would undermine its global diplomatic standing.
Alongside, Rudd has stated in his paper, the US would also be irretrievably hurt and premiere position in the world order would be deeply eroded. In consequence, the post covid world will be much less rule-bound and ordered. It will be difficult sailing for all.