After-Corona: ‘China’s Ambitions’ Set in Motion by Trump’s Self-Destruction

After-Corona: ‘China’s Ambitions’ Set in Motion by Trump’s Self-Destruction

Satoshi Tomisaka (Journalist, Professor at the Institute for International Affairs, Takushoku University)

 Where will China go after the new coronavirus disaster is over? It seems that some in Japan have observed that China, having succeeded in lifting the blockade of Wuhan, will “move toward global hegemony.

 But it is too early to discuss such a topic. There are still many things we don’t know about the new coronavirus, and there are still concerns that a second wave will occur, including the reemergence of infection after autumn.

 However, there is no doubt that the leadership of Xi Jinping has rushed to resume production, and has also decided to hold the National People’s Congress on April 22.

 There is no doubt that Xi Jinping’s leadership has rushed to resume production, and has even decided to hold the National People’s Congress on March 22, because he believes that even if the virus cannot be contained, it can be controlled, but that is not the only reason. But that is not the only reason. There are also political considerations at play.

 It is to achieve the “Two Centuries” goal. The “Two Centuries” goal is to realize a “fully lulled society” in 2021, the centennial of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. And in 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, the two pledges are to “revive” China, that is, to make it a more developed country than the United States.

 Although the term “Xiaokang society” is difficult to understand, under the Xi administration this goal has been concretized as “doubling the gross domestic product (GDP) and average income from 2010 and eradicating poverty.

 This is a high hurdle even in normal times, but due to the new corona, the GDP for the January-March period of this year fell sharply to -6.8% (in real terms), as previously reported. In order to double the 2010 GDP this year, an annual growth rate of 5.7% will have to be achieved, which is a hopeless situation.

 However, the government must have thought that there is still time to achieve the other goal, “poverty eradication. The news has suddenly become more frequent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a teleconference of G20 leaders in Beijing in March 2020 (Xinhua)

 When the outbreak of the new pneumonia began to subside, China relied on trade to revive its economy. China’s policies were also marked by preferential treatment of foreign capital.

 This is a move unique to China, which is still highly dependent on trade, but the State Council has been working hard to improve the environment by providing subsidies to companies damaged by the new corona, correcting the disparity between domestic and foreign tax breaks, and creating a new negative list. The State Council was eager to improve the environment by providing subsidies to companies damaged by the new corona, correcting the gap between domestic and foreign tax exemptions, and creating a new negative list.

 As with the SARS epidemic of 2003, the Xi administration had hoped to boast that it had overcome the new coronary disease and achieved high economic development, but its calculations had gone awry.

 Now, “de-poverty” is becoming more meaningful as a declaration of victory over the new coronas than a promise of “two centuries. There is no way that this will not have an impact on China’s foreign policy.

 A quiet diplomatic environment is essential for the Xi administration, which wants to focus all its efforts on “de-poverty,” but the winds of the world are difficult to read. In particular, we must be nervous about the world’s sympathy for “China’s responsibility,” which is often mentioned by the Trump administration in the United States.

 The fight against infectious diseases is a common challenge that humanity cannot avoid throughout history, but the blame on China as the source of infection will grow stronger. At the top of the list is the Trump administration, which is preparing for a presidential election. If the U.S. economy is exhausted, the people of the U.S. will support a hard-line stance against China.

 And, for the time being, China will be drained of its energy in dealing with this issue.

 On April 29, Reuters distributed an article titled “China wants to defeat me in U.S. presidential election: Trump”. Earlier, on April 24, the US political website Politico reported that it had obtained a 57-page “campaign memo” prepared by the Republican National Senate Committee for each candidate. In the memo, a top Republican strategist advised them to “address the new Corona crisis by aggressively attacking China” and even instructed them on how to tie Democratic candidates to the Chinese government or impress them as being close to it.

 It’s a familiar story, but once again, we can see that slamming China is a way to gain instant popularity in US politics. U.S. public opinion polls show that sentiment toward China has fallen to the worst level in history after the spread of the new corona.

 It is not clear what the Trump administration’s “China blame” refers to. But the media is already talking about compensation claims, freezing the assets of Chinese-owned companies in the U.S., financial sanctions and debt forgiveness, sanctions and tariffs, and even a proposal to remove China from the global supply chain.

President Trump speaks without wearing a mask during a meeting at the U.S. White House on May 13, 2020 (Getty Images)

 As for compensation claims, there is no provision in current international law and the International Health Regulations (IHR) that provides a basis for state liability for a global pandemic of an infectious disease. In fact, there have been no cases of reparations for transboundary damage caused by H1N1 influenza, which was declared a pandemic by the United States in 2009, AIDS, mad cow disease, and pathogenic E. coli O157. It is hard to find any consistency with the past as to why China is the only country responsible for compensation.

 However, if the Trump administration gets serious, it can seek compensation in its own way, such as imposing sanctions tariffs or financial sanctions, or using its influence to remove China from the supply chain. China will be forced to deal with this.

This structure is very similar to the US-China trade war. When the trade war between the U.S. and China intensified, I pointed out that China would move toward a “gradual ‘de-U.S.,'” which would be more pronounced after the new Corona disaster.

 However, “de-U.S.” is not a realistic option. The U.S. remains an inseparable trading partner and a treasure trove of technology that is indispensable for the development of its own economy.

 Therefore, “leaving the U.S.” in this context only means preparing for the worst. However, China is certainly beginning to weigh the economic benefits against the disadvantages of dealing with the stupidity of the US.

 The word “stupidity” may be a misnomer, but it is summed up in the Trump administration’s decision to impose sanctions on China after the new Corona disaster.

 The U.S. has the power to hit China, but it is not only China that will be hurt by the sanctions. China is not going to be hit unilaterally, and what awaits it is “loose ends.

 At a time when both the U.S. and China need to hasten their recovery from the damage caused by the new corona scare, such mudslinging will further delay the economic recovery. If the Trump administration is aware of this and runs for short-term popularity, it will be nothing but foolishness.

 China did not originally have the “option” to compete with the US. However, as China struggled with the spread of the new corona, the conciliatory stance it had maintained until then began to fade away in the face of the “China virus” and “Wuhan virus” that the Trump administration kept coming up with one after another.

 A symbol of the blatant change is the blatant personal attack on Secretary of State Pompeo. Starting on April 27, state-run Central Television (CCTV) ran a four-day series of criticism of Pompeo.

 The signs were already there on March 16. The first sign came on March 16, when State Councilor Yang Jiechiiori, who had a phone conversation with Pompeo, used the term “some politicians (political guests)” to criticize politicians who said things like “Wuhan virus.

 The background to China’s offensive is the diminishing presence of the United States in the international community. The Xi leadership is now sensitively aware of this change.

WHO’s Aylward holds a joint press conference with Chinese experts on the new coronavirus in Beijing in February 2020.

 The response of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the new coronavirus is symbolic. President Trump criticized the WHO for its pro-China stance and pressured it to stop funding, but there has been no widespread sympathy. There is also no indication that the WHO has changed course significantly in response to the pressure.

It is also questionable why the U.S., the largest sponsor of the WHO, is unable to control it at will.

 At the time of the spread of the new strain of influenza, then Director-General Margaret Chan’s premature declaration of a pandemic caught the U.S. off-guard. This is said to have been a traumatic experience for the WHO and a distant cause of the delay in declaring a pandemic this time.

 On April 28, Dr. Gianluca Vulci, a former legal advisor to the WHO, told Jiji Press that the U.S. delayed the provision of information during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. At the time, the WHO could not complain about such a U.S..

 The reason for the change is that many countries and international organizations around the world have begun to feel the decay of Pax Americana and U.S. soft power during the four years of the Trump administration, which has pushed “America First” to the forefront.

 The “Huawei siege” launched by the Trump administration last year, as well as the recognition of China as a currency manipulator, would have previously resulted in the Western industrialized countries falling in line with the US and China suffering a major blow.

 The focus of attention is Europe’s shift away from the United States. While the headwind against China is increasing due to the new Corona problem, German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom reportedly told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that it needs Huawei’s technology to build a fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications network.

 China’s attention is also focused on this point. It is symbolic that China sent medical supplies and staff to Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and other countries to help while the blockade of Wuhan has not yet been lifted.

European Commission President Jean-Claude VONDEARRAIEN speaks at a press conference in Brussels in March 2020 (AP)

 Furthermore, on April 29, Premier Li Keqiang, in a telephone conversation with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said, “China wants to work with Europe to develop vaccines and new drugs. Li Keqiang said, “China wants to work with Europe to develop vaccines and new drugs.

 As the confrontation between the U.S. and China intensifies, will China’s choice to push “westward” come to fruition? This is a major factor that will determine the future course of the world.

 The U.S. has enough power to prevent this from happening, but if the Trump administration continues to harass China with the “new corona outbreak at the Wuhan Institute” and “Taiwan’s membership in the WHO,” or if it continues to perform as if it is “fighting China,” the headwind from the new corona blowing in China will eventually turn into a tailwind. This is because it may be in the interest of US politicians, but it is not in the national interest.

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