Politics

Politics

China’s ‘mask diplomacy’ met with wariness
As health workers around the globe struggle to find enough hospital beds and medical supplies to cope with the coronavirus crisis, China has stepped in.  So too has Germany, the United States, the European Union and many others. But Beijing’s efforts – which state media has called “China’s solution to fight the pandemic” – have had a mixed reception, and analysts say its “mask diplomacy” will do little to convince critics in the West. Across the globe, more than 3 billion people are living under lockdown measures to limit the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 720,000 people worldwide and killed at least 34,000. Two weeks ago, as Italy emerged as the new epicenter of the pand
Why Trump officials don’t want to cut tariffs on Chinese medical supplies
Hardliners within the Trump administration are trying desperately to avoid reducing tariffs on imported medical supplies from China, hoping to stave off mounting pressure from health care workers and a panicked public as the coronavirus death toll mounts. After an extended US-China trade war and President Donald Trump’s signing of an initial agreement in December, hawks within the administration are loath to set a precedent.  Their concern is that emergency concessions could undercut their hawkish trade stance toward Beijing, which Trump sees as a cornerstone accomplishment leading up to the November elections, say former officials and analysts. “There will be inexorable pressure to relax t
China, US may stop their war of words at coronavirus summit
China and the United States are expected to call a timeout on their coronavirus blame game and focus on the challenges of the pandemic, when leaders of the Group of 20 hold talks via video conference on Thursday. According to a draft statement to be discussed at the summit, the leaders are expected to agree that the coronavirus is a common threat to humanity and united efforts are required to fight it. All eyes will be on the US and China, which have been locked in a war of words over a pandemic that has already infected more than 470,000 people and killed 21,000. The US has criticized China, where the outbreak was first reported, for its slow initial response and attempts to silence people
US Navy launches live-fire missiles in ‘warning to China’
The US Navy was targeting China with live-fire missile tests in the Philippine Sea last week, sending a message that it was up to the challenge of the Chinese military’s new advanced systems, military analysts said. In the drill in waters east of the Philippines on Thursday, the guided-missile destroyer USS Barry launched a medium-range Standard Missile-2, the US Seventh Fleet said on its Facebook page. It was accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh, which also launched an SM-2 during the drill. The Philippines Sea is separated from the disputed South China Sea, a major flashpoint in the US-China rivalry, by the Philippines.  Beijing claims almost all of the energy-rich South Ch
Trump stops calling coronavirus ‘Chinese virus’ after using the term 16 times
President Donald Trump on Monday stopped referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and called for the protection of Asian-Americans. “It’s very important that we totally protect our Asian-American community in the United States and all around the world,” Trump said at a White House briefing. “They’re amazing people and the spreading of the virus is not their fault in any way shape or form,” he said.  Trump’s shift in tone was abrupt, having called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” at least once every day since March 17 – a reference that was made at least eight times on Twitter and another eight times in the White House. Asked in the briefing why he stopped using the term, Trump
China's ambassador distances himself from claims that coronavirus came from US
China’s ambassador to the United States has denounced speculation about the origin of the coronavirus after his fellow diplomats openly promoted dubious information about the pandemic. The remarks of the Chinese ambassador, Cui Tiankai, represents an oblique rebuke of a few of his colleagues who spread unfounded claims that the virus might have originated in America. Without naming names, Cui said speculating on the origin of the virus was “harmful” during an interview with Axios on HBO on March 17, published on Sunday.  “Eventually, we must have an answer to where the virus originally came [from],” Cui said. “But this is a job for the scientists to do, not for diplomats, not for journalists
China and US play the blame game as world struggles through crisis
Already battered relations between the United States and China have declined to their lowest level in recent memory at a time when the coronavirus crisis calls for unprecedented global cooperation and collaboration. As of Friday, the virus has infected almost 245,000 people and killed over 10,000. China watchers say a range of irritants, mutual recriminations, long-standing and festering tensions are putting the global economy at further risk and increasing the chance of a military misstep. Events fueling trans-Pacific mistrust in recent weeks include finger-pointing over who “started” the coronavirus, with President Donald Trump repeatedly calling the pathogen the “Chinese virus.” For its p
Chinese official claims US army may have brought coronavirus to China
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has taken to social media to promote an unproven claim that the coronavirus originated not in the central city of Wuhan, where the first cases were reported, but in America.  With the virus’s spread slowing in China, Beijing has sought to highlight its success in containing the epidemic and depict the US’ response as a failure. The most active tweeter in the Chinese government has suggested that the US military had brought the new coronavirus to the outbreak’s epicenter in China. On Friday, he asked his 310,000 followers to share an allegation from a Canada-based conspiracy website that the coronavirus – which has become a global pandemic – orig
Chinese officials thank the people after ‘gratitude education’ campaign backfires
Communist officials in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak have praised local residents as heroes in an attempt to contain a public backlash sparked by the suggestion they should be grateful to the Chinese leadership.  The Communist Party chief of Hubei province, where more than 67,000 people have been infected by the virus since December, made the remarks on Sunday while visiting front-line medical staff in Wuhan.  “Wuhan is a city of heroes, and the Wuhan people are heroes,” said Ying Yong, who was appointed to the post last month in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.  “[Wuhan’s people] … have shown resilience and strong will … I hereby express my sincere gratitude to the people o
US-China tensions were easing. Then came the coronavirus outbreak
At an event in Washington on Friday, Florida senator Rick Scott used the term “Communist China” 25 times in a 10-minute speech. Scott was pushing the idea that the coronavirus outbreak should be used as a wedge to pry apart the US-China relationship. “I think there is going to be more decoupling, as we’re seeing with the coronavirus. I think people are saying to themselves, are we too dependent on a country that acts as an adversary? And I think that is going to cause some people to rethink their supply chains,” Scott told a crowd gathered at the Hudson Institute, a think tank. While Scott has been one of the most strident advocates in the Trump administration for tougher measures against Ch