The overall number of global COVID-19 cases has surpassed 13.7 million, while casualties have boosted more than 589,000. Till the last Friday forenoon cases crossed the number of 13,758,533, while the casualties rose to 589,093.
Out of the most affected countries, the United States tops the list with 3,576,156 coronavirus cases at present, Brazil is at the second position with 2,012,151 active cases, India becomes the third-worst affected country by COVID-19 with 1,195,674 active cases, Russia is at fourth position with 751,612 vigorous cases and Peru is at fifth position with 341,586 coronavirus cases. These countries have the highest number of infections and the number of new cases is increasing with each passing day.
In December 2019, cases of pneumonia of unspecified cause were first detected and got a glimpse in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province. Three weeks before the lockdown began, initially on 2nd January 2020, China started the virus identification work. Then China began to inform the WHO and exchange information with the U.S. regularly about the new virus.
Later on January 21, the first coronavirus case was confirmed on U.S. soil. However, the sense of a coming disaster in the White House did not appear to alert high-level officials of the Trump regime.
On January 23, Wuhan, a city with 11 million people, drove in under lockdown, with a motive of the nationwide battle against the new virus “COVID-19”. China’s role in the pandemic is likely to have a negative impact on its bilateral relationship with the countries which are most affected by COVID-19. If China had chosen to be transparent, then the pandemic could have been tackled much more efficiently. China had not been evidently clear about the degree of spread within the country and the human transmission issues, which has now led to the rise of bilateral tensions of China with the US, India, Russia, Brazil and Peru.
The US-China relations had always been in heated up mode, both are the biggest economies of the world and so their relations have entered into an ornery period. The Trump administration in its 2017 national security policy, inly affirmed that “great power rivalry” were the explicative traits of the age and the competition with China was at the heart of US global bilateral relations strategy.
President Trump undertook a trade war with China and aimed to dissociate the virtues of US financial and monetary interdependence with China. With the endless difference between US-China increasing constantly, China has preferred destabilizing ways to propel its agendas. This includes occupying the artificial islands by the military in the strategically crucial South China Sea and in the East China Sea, terminating the sovereignty of Hong Kong and rooting off the Uyghur community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the tension and created wartime like circumstances between US and China. The Trump administration is constantly blaming China for all aspects of the ongoing pandemic. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the US has all the considerable evidence which can prove that COVID-19 is not just a global pandemic which was first detected in China, but it had been manufactured in a laboratory in Wuhan and now China is using it as a bioweapon.
The US-China tension has given rise to a new “cold war” which is getting uglier day by day and other countries are also getting yanked into this warfare. The Chinese government has already begun targeting US’s allies; professional analysts are calling this behavior of China as the “wolf warrior diplomacy”. The US – China ties have been pushed to the limit since 2018, when both the countries were bogged down in a long-winded trade war which constantly pushed down global growth.
It seems that now Trump would likely strive for maximum anti-China sentiment during his presidential campaign.
Despite the seven decades of diplomatic relations, the India-China ties remain complicated. India and China had been trading partners for a long time but now tensions have been worsened by India’s opposition to the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) and China’s land expansionist policies. Meanwhile, China’s friendship with Pakistan is giving fuel to the tension between the disputed Himalayan borders with India; the deadly border clash in June 2020 was the sign of continuous degrading bilateral relations between India and China.
Through the BRI, China wants to entangle India in its meandering debt trap, this could be considered as the Chinese formula to overthrow the USA as the world’s prominent financial and military super-power. China’s partnership with Pakistan is all about using religion-based terrorism to expand its international political purposes which includes binding India into local intricacies so that India may find it difficult to be a rival of the Chinese market at a global platform.
In Russia, the first two coronavirus cases were discovered on January 31, and both were natives of China. After the tremendous increase in COVID-19 cases in January, Russia sealed its territorial border crossing gateways with China. Russia also restricted the 2600 mile cross border trade with China. In February, the Russian government suspended visas of all Chinese citizens, declared a temporary prohibition on entering the Russian borders, and after this they terminated almost all trains and flights that were on the route of “to and from” China.
Russian Investment Forum that has to happen in the Black Sea city of Sochi which had expected to captivate a significant number of Chinese businesses also got cancelled. In the last week of April, China closed its remaining 7 territorial borders out of 25 borders with Russia, these reduce the demand of Russian exports and this created economic shock waves and fluctuations in it’s already a collapsing economy. Due to the significant decrease in consumers demand, Russian exports to China fell by approximately one-third. After the collapse of economic activity between Russia and China, many truck drivers lost their jobs. China restricted the import of Russian fish and meat, Russia in retaliation enforced limitations on the import of Chinese citrus fruits and dry fruits. The COVID-19 outbreak has put Russia- China relations at great economic tension.
Recently, Brazil’s education minister has raised questions on the unethical business practices by China during this pandemic period, this has certainly given rise to the adversity between the bilateral relations of Brazil and China; they have blamed the Chinese medical equipment producers profiteering from the COVID-19 outbreak. Brazilian inner diplomatic circle has already said that the new virus would help China to dominate the world economy and this might be their indirect indication to refer to coronavirus as a bioweapon developed by China.
On the other side, the Chinese government has said that Brazilian parliamentarians have shown their racist character and this will have a negative impact on the budding bilateral relation. Brazil is badly affected by the coronavirus and diplomats are constantly accusing China for this pandemic situation, their differences with Chinese manufacturers seem not to end so easily. The clashes between both countries are now going beyond the business understanding, China seems ready with its expansionist strategies in Latin America and now this may become a major problem for Brazil in the coming days.
These days China is in need of a strong military base in the Latin American region, with its bilateral ties with Brazil already going through a panic situation, undoubtedly China wants a full monopoly over the trade of Latin America because this will be a gateway to China to attack the United States indirectly. China is strengthening its relationship with Peru; China is providing Peru with all types of economic and business cooperation. China has pledged with Peru to safeguard its public health and to provide safety in the health sector. For Peru, its partnership with China is all about economic recovery which was a dream for many Peruvian economists.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 outbreak has put China’s relations with the whole world to the test. For the United States of America, India, Brazil, Peru and Russia national security concerns have outplayed all other considerations. Nevertheless, it would be a premature judgment to consider that the China’s alliance with other countries will rupture due to the pandemic. In the post-pandemic world, China will try to keep on their terms and strengthen their strategic partnership. But, the virus has exposed the degree of mistrust between the whole world and China; experts say that China will rarely go against those who have raised questions on its responsibilities towards the virus during the ongoing pandemic period.
While relations between the governments appear to be normalized, the people-to-people connections will take its course.